I’ve been using Atlas Games’s Once Upon a Time in my speech-language therapy for years.

Once Upon a Time, the card game

Every player is dealt cards with story elements (see also, Burke’s Dramatistic Pentad for an arrangement of these cards by story function), as well as an ending card. Players narrate a story that is constrained by the cards that were randomly dealt to their hand, and win the game by playing their ending (which has to make sense in the context of what has come before).

It would be easy, except that players take turns constructing the story and everyone has different endings they are trying to achieve.

I love this game for a number of reasons. It’s great for teaching story grammar (obviously), but there is also a strong executive function element to it in that you have to plan your moves ahead if your ending is going to make sense. Lately, one of my students has been using it to elicit connected speech from a young client who is working on generalizing speech artic. therapy into conversation. You have to talk a lot to play this game.

Here are some other game-based therapy activities:

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Games make a difference

August 2, 2010

Jane McGonigal has created a game called SuperBetter, which turns the rehabilitation process into a game.

SuperBetter covers an area on the play graph straddling pretend play and games with rules, with a similar footprint to Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft except a little to the left (the pretend setting is self-directed), and larger footprint vertically (the gameplay is highly emergent from real-world experiences, pushing it lower, and it’s goals exist in the real-world and are quite serious, pushing its upper border upwards).

Note to self, perhaps I need a better vocabulary for talking about this.

Anyway, here is Jane talking about the origins of SuperBetter briefly:

and a longer video of her TED talk on the origin and purpose of her “serious” games.

Conference poster

April 9, 2010

The types of play model didn’t quite make the cut in the paper I’m submitting. This poster, however, is essentially Table 1 of that paper and an outline of the structure of it.I’m uploading it here— “submitted for your approval” as Rod Serling would say.


2010 PSHA poster & Bowker (manuscript in preparation)

(Edited 11 April: converted to 150dpi PNG, now less than 8MB file size!)

References coming soon.

Electronic entertainment 2

September 30, 2008

Last post I talked about the video game Rez and how the gameplay was highly dependent on audio and tactile feedback.

Physics engines in games have been getting increasingly realistic. There are millions of calculations per second in a modern PS3 or XBox360 game devoted to how things fall, bounce and scatter. Furthermore, most computers and game consoles now have a second whole processor devoted to calculating how light from specific sources in the game bounces off things and scatters.

Has anyone devoted this much attention to in-game sound physics?

With 5.1 surround audio, the possibility of a game having realistic doppler and echo effects would be highly immersive and make the sound-based gameplay I was talking about before possible. I know some games use doppler, but I don’t think it is calculated realistically on the fly and I don’t think anyone is simulating realistic echo.

Could such a game be used in therapy as a VR training method for teaching that clicking technique thatBen Underwood uses?