PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Simulation miscellany, 28 January 2014

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Some recent news on conflict simulations and serious games (and, occasionally, other stuff) that may be of interest.

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They’re as busy as ever at GrogHeads. First, there is still time to vote in the 2014 “Readers’ Choice” awards for the best games of the year. Also, they are always on the lookout for academic and analytical contributions on wargames and related subjects. Go check it out.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education this week features an article by Anastasia Salter on “Alternate Reality Games in the Classroom“:

It can be hard to get a clear picture of ARGs without participating in one directly. Alternate Reality Games typically start with a rabbit hole: a website URL for a fictional company embedded in a movie ad campaign, a strange interruption in a video clip on YouTube, a series of street art images with a Twitter hashtag, or some other method of alerting potential players that a story is starting. From there, players typically follow a trail of clues presented by the game’s puppetmasters. You can find out more about games going on now through the Alternate Reality Gaming Networkand the Unfiction ForumsBrooke Thompson has a great quickstart guideon how to play ARGs that can help you get started. Most of the games are marketing promotions, but they still often include great examples of using mysterious websites, codes, social media, geocaching and flash mob events to play a story. These same techniques can be scaled up or down to a classroom or conference….

h/t Brian Train

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The proceedings for last year’s History of Games conference are now online. There is also a special issue of Game Studies with papers from that conference

h/t TAG

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Kotaku has an interesting discussion by Paolo Pedercini of the forthcoming game Prison Architect:

Is it possible to create a prison management game without trivializing or misrepresenting the issue of mass incarceration? As video games mature and tackle more serious topics, players and developers should be aware of the values embedded in their systems.

Prison Architect is an upcoming game by Introversion Software, a British independent company. Dubbing themselves “the last of the bedroom programmers,” Introversion played a key role in the renaissance of independent game development, producing a string of critically acclaimed titles and paving the way for digital distribution of third-party games on Steam.

Among their previous releases is one of my favorite games ever: Defcon, a spine-chilling, eerily beautiful multiplayer real-time strategy game in which players engage in a Cold-war era nuclear conflict. Each Defcon game culminates in a slow-motion Mutually Assured Destruction scenario. Whoever suffers the least amount of megadeaths is the winner.

Prison Architect is also tackling a dark subject, a subject that deserves special attention and defies any ‘it’s just a game’ kind of dismissal.

As the name suggests, the player is in charge of designing (but also managing) a private penitentiary. The gameplay is reminiscent of sim games from the ’90s, most notably Bullfrog’sTheme Park and Theme Hospital: a mix of construction, zoning, research, resource and staff management….

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Do you have a lot of ill-gotten gains you need to turn into safe, useable cash? The blog Criminal Genius is featuring the “Keno Laundromat,” a weekly money launder challenge/tutorial simulation.

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The deadline to submit abstracts for consideration at the 82nd Military Operations Research Society Symposium is Thursday, 14 February 2014. Registration is now open.

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Red-Team-This-RTJThe Red Team Journal continues to add to its list of “The Laws of Red Teaming.” Check out the current list.

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