Verisimilitude and you!

I had several conversations recently that reminded me of other conversations and arguments and articles I’ve had in the past, and they all tend to circle around similar ideas I’ve had when it comes to creativity. I’m sure you’re all completely fucking baffled at this point, so let me start with the most recent conversation/argument I had recently.

The trailer for an upcoming video game, Dead Island, hit the Interwaves recently, and it’s mostly been met with glowing reviews, some going even so far as crowning it early as the Best Video Game Trailer of the year. If you haven’t caught it yet, here it is:

I haven’t been able to relocate the article I read right after seeing the trailer (I think it might have been something IGN related), but the gist concerned a gamer dad not liking the recent “trend” in gaming for making children the target of violence. He especially chastised the gaming industry for trying to distinguish itself from film entertainment by being provocative in ways that film wouldn’t dare.  I think this particular father is seeing what trends he wants in gaming, probably as a result of being a father and suffering from the accompanying constant terror for his kids’ safety, but I can’t really fault him for his choice of blog topics. I was going to chastise him for going after a game that might be trying to add some humanity and characterization to a medium sorely lacking such qualities before he’d even played it once. However, after reading some previews of the game, it appears the game designers were apparently using this as a tactic to garner hype for their game with no intention of following through on the artistic promise of their trailer. Instead of characterization and a depiction of the real struggle of normal human beings in dire Armageddon-like circumstances, instead of an honest and heart-wrenching examination of the loss of  a single life, we get yet another hack-and-slash, no-narrative-to-be-found blood fest.

A few days after my brother saw the trailer, he e-mailed me about how exciting this prospect could be for gaming. His hope was that, due to the recent success of fully-formed and thoughtful adaptations of genre fiction such as The Walking Dead, perhaps gaming was going to jump on the bandwagon and usher in a new era of games that were worth playing as much for artistic and emotional impact as they were for the adrenalin rush of action and button mashing. Too bad this is probably only going to amount to another in a long line of stunts to get people playing another cookie-cutter piece of trash. What a waste of potential, especially when the trailer displayed such astounding CGI facial features dripping with pain and fear.

The conversation with my brother reminded me of one I had with my Dad via e-mail just a few days earlier. We had been talking about The King’s Speech, a film to which he’d recently been dragged, and I was telling him about an article I’d read concerning how false many historical facts were in the film. I was basing all of my small knowledge of the English royalty portrayed in the film entirely on Christopher Hitchens’s recent article on Slate about the film.  He goes so far as to accuse the film of being a “gross falsification of history.” His arguments include the fact that many of the royal family were actually fairly sympathetic of Hitler in his rise to power, and Winston Churchill was, in fact, more of a friend of the Hitler-bootlicking Edward the VIII for as long as he dared than he was of Colin…I mean George VI.

Cut to several years ago, when there was an undercurrent of backlash against Hollywood’s favorite small-town director, Ron Howard, and his depiction of John Forbes Nash, Jr. Many critics of the film (who all seemed to get drowned out by the constant groveling at Howard’s feet) berated Howard for leaving out several key historical facts, not the least of which destroys the entire lynchpin of the main relationship in Howard’s “adaptation”: the fact that Nash may have had homosexual experiences during part of his life, and that he and his wife were actually divorced for several years before reconciling. Sylvia Nasar, who wrote the book on which the film was based, “defended” the filmmakers by saying that they “invented a narrative that, while far from a literal telling, is true to the spirit of Nash’s story.”

This, in turn, reminded me of how angry Oprah was when James Frey duped her into believing that everything he wrote in his “biography” was true, even specific conversations.

Finally, I was reminded of a debate we had in my creative non-fiction class in grad school with my teacher ranting about how I shouldn’t be including a conversation in my work if I couldn’t remember it word-for-word, and I definitely shouldn’t insert any words or actions I couldn’t resolutely account for (In my own memory, apparently).

How are all of these disjointed memories connected? Well, at first I thought I had something when it came to creative artists in video games having more ambition than most “award-worthy” filmmakers working today. Then I read about all of the actual gameplay impressions of Dead Island. Instead, I now think my whole argument/philosophy tends to circle the idea of creative responsibility to truth, or at least, creative responsibility to verisimilitude (if the zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened by the time I publish this, that is). Hollywood loves their “Based on a True Story” pics, and they’re especially arousing to the followers of The Great Oscar. However, there are some grey areas that the most loved of these films seem to leave out. Otherwise, there’s no way they’d win Oscars. They’d likely not even be in the running. Even Arronofsky had to tone his shit down before they’d let him in the room with Black Swan (not that it was based on a true story). Do you think two women double-impaling themselves on a massive dildo is considered Oscar-worthy? A true depiction of the depths of human depravity, sure.  But Oscar-worthy?  I think not. Nash’s sexual experimentation to go along with his mathematical was just a little too much for Mayberry’s favorite son and his audience, as was a rocky, complicated relationship with his wife. George’s family’s history of sympathizing with monsters was just too complex for Brits or for us. There’s just too much of a gamble involved, I guess, for any director to have the courage to leave in actual characters. Instead, as long as directors worship at the dual altars of the dollar sign and the petty award ceremony, we’ll have to settle for the cardboard cutouts, most of whom will be played by the beautiful who aren’t much good at anything other than chewing a bit of scenery while on set and superficial politics when they’re not.

I’d like to make the argument on the other side of the spectrum for video games and books, if only because the memories I have of them highlight the assholes at the other end of the spectrum. I hate to be the bearer of bad news to the likes of someone like Oprah (and her own legion of easily-led lackeys), but there’s no such thing, technically-speaking, as non-fiction. Nothing is verbatim. Human beings cannot depict anything historical without filtering it somewhat through their psyche. Even if you could recite everything with the aid of a photographic memory, you’re still going to have to edit it. The minute you do that, you’re moving from the realm of the objective into the subjective. You are choosing events, no matter how particular, to leave out, and thus, you are no longer depicting things as they were. Your characters are no longer bound to reality, as they can never be viewed without the taint of perspective. However, who cares? Who would want to consume that kind of art anyway? You can’t expect someone writing a “memoir” to tell a true story anymore than you can Ron Howard.

So, why can I be critical of any art when it comes to verisimilitude then? Where do I get off judging? Well, it’s simple. It all comes down to intentions. If James Frey fibbed a few details about things, or exaggerated about his drug use (and I have no idea how much he did, as I’ve never read the book), does that really matter if his intention is to highlight the perils of being a habitual drug user and ward off others in danger of following his path (I’m assuming those were his intentions, as that’s the usual sort of fodder that the likes of Oprah and her ilk enjoy exploiting)? No. Does it matter that a game designer needs to put kids in the way of blades and fangs, as long as their point is to deal with the fear and psychological damage loss of them entails? It doesn’t, although the particular designers in this instance were only exploiting that sort of violence for the very thing the unknown gamer dad had his finger on: hype, fame, and money.  To be as honest as I can be, though, the likes of Ron Howard and the makers of The King’s Speech are no different from the Dead Island guys. If what they really cared about was depicting a real man’s struggle with mental instability, and all of the complexities one would have to endure, he wouldn’t have to frame his film within the confines of a love story. He might not ever receive the Golden Shower from Oscar, but he might also have words like “artist” and “brave” used in the same sentence as his name once in awhile. But, what can you expect from the Beautiful Mind that brought you The Grinch Who Stole Christmas? I haven’t had to endure as much from Tom Hooper as I have from Howard, but I did see one earlier film of his, Longford, and the image he left me with of Myra Hindley waxing nostalgically about killing children (It always comes back to that doesn’t it?) at the end of the movie was probably far more memorable than the entire length of King’s Speech. I don’t need to see that film, because I’ve seen the trailer, and I know how it begins, plays about, and ends already. It’s an Oscar movie, and those always play fictitiously by the rules set by the forefathers of film. Some films may be pushing the boundaries of what’s going on in the modern world, but awards shows seem to still be stuck back almost a century in sensibilities.  I’ll take the actual humanistic characterization of a monster over the vanillization (It’s a word now.) of a historic “hero” any damned day. It’s just too bad that video games, so far, have decided to keep pandering for riches for awhile longer instead of creating an arm of game design equivalent in artistry to that of the true modern film greats.


iPad Boardgame Review!

Ah, the iPad.  I’ve often touted how this breakthrough technology would bustle in a new age of board game appreciation.  The potential it has for exposing new people to games they would never find outside their usual retail haunts is almost as exciting as the new level of addiction it adds for those who are already familiar with them.  Add to that an easy marketplace for creators and consumers, as well as a low price point for base games and expansions alike, and you have a deadly new weapon in the fight against easier forms of interactive entertainment like video games.

But, what we’re really here to talk about today is one of these games in particular.  I decided awhile back to start trying out some of the specific board games on the iPad, and not the easy slam dunk game reviews I could offer for games like Small World, Carcassone, and even Catan.  No, I decided to start with the more obscure games that famous game designer Reiner Knizia has to offer for the system.  Knizia has an interesting pedigree when it comes to game design.  On one hand, he’s a designer machine with over 20 titles to his credit, from board games to card games.  He’s covered every arena from Lord of the Rings to Mensa-catnip games like Ingenious.  Many of his games have been translated to electronic format, and he’s one of the pillars of the designer game milieu.

And, the man has a Ph.D. in Mathematics, so he’s not sweating it, either.

I have two Masters, which means I have the equivalent of 1 Ph.D.  Well, technically one of them is a Masters in English, so I suppose I’m only really ¾ of the way there.  Still, I still feel that gives me some sort of elevation from which I can cast down my lightning bolts of judgment, even if the arc isn’t very steep (Or is it bowed?).

Knizia’s games, and I’ve played many, tend to have two faults in common with a lot of German board games.  For one thing, they’re always abstract and only minimally grounded in the subject matter within which they take place.  Take The Hobbit, for example.  I like the simplicity of the German board game, especially this one.  However, it doesn’t take long to realize that you’re not really experiencing anything like Bilbo’s historic journey to the Lonely Mountain.  The dwarf you control is really just a board with a set of markers you slide up and down.  The markers designate stats that determine how good you are at overcoming challenges, but they’re really just levels that go up and down as the game progresses.  It doesn’t matter what they represent.  Your only job is to get them as high as possible, and to keep their losses minimal.  And this is a difficult thing to do, thanks to the next bugaboo frequenting German board games:  everyone is probability’s bitch.  No matter how smart you are; even if you were Dr. Reiner Knizia himself; you are still subject to the whims of chance and fate.  Go ahead and bring your wealth of board game experience and knowledge to the table; you can use it all you want to keep you warm, but you won’t need it playing one of these goddamn board games.

This brings me to the first game with which I decided to torture myself:  Reiner Knizia’s Poison.  Poison is a simple card game at heart.  You have cards with colors and numbers.  There are four colors:  red, blue, purple, and green.  The numbers on them range from 2-7.  You start out with a hand of cards, and there are three pots in front of you.  Each pot can only contain one color (Red, blue or purple), and overflows the minute that the total of the numbers in the pot exceeds 13.  The green cards always have values of 4, and they are wild cards that can be played into any pot.  If you are the player who put a card into a pot and caused it to spill over 13, you have to take all the cards in the pot except for the one you just played (which stays in the pot).  The cards you have taken don’t go into your hand; they’re piled in front of you and add to your score.  This game uses the golf system, where the lower your score, the better.  Each card is one point added to your total, except for green cards, which saddle you with two points a piece.   However, there’s one twist that will add to your headache.  If you have more cards in your point pile of a given color than anyone else, then you get to subtract all of the points you’re getting from that color from your total.  However, no one gets to ever subtract green cards from their totals.  In other words, the gist of the game is that you don’t want to take any colors, but if you have to take any colors, you want to try and take most or all of them, and no one wants the green “Poison” cards.  Get it?

Now, I bought this game in card form so I could play with human beings, and it certainly plays just as frustratingly as the computer adaptation due to the second German board game weakness I outlined above.  No matter what strategy you try in the game, it won’t work, because you not only have zero control over other players, but you also have no idea how to predict anything in the game, so you could be playing a card this round that will spell your doom in a future turn.  It’s all based on luck.  So, why don’t I just pull out a bunch of coins and we all flip them to see who can call what it’s going to be?  So much fun.

But what about the fact that it’s on the iPad?  Isn’t the fact that you could play with distant friends a simple and easy game like this something you’d enjoy, Gameface?  Well, I would, if it offered such a choice.  As it is now, I’m stuck with playing a group of faceless number crunchers who always seem able to set me up for failure.  There are no options for any other human players to join in, even if everyone is huddled around the same iPad.  It seems strange this isn’t an option.  You don’t even have the option of changing the AI settings, so you’re always playing some cheating program probably designed by Skynet.

I will give enough props to Reiner and his computer adaptation specialists.  They made me buy the physical game just so I could try and uncover something—anything—that I could use as a strategy.  When it came right down to it, however, both paper and screen had only another exercise in futile and boring probability to offer me.  I decided to cut out of that one instead of waiting for the rare Event where I am the winner.  I’ll stick with Space Mining instead.

In summation…

If you love getting sexually assaulted and abused by fate, or actuarial tables, you’ll love any version of Poison!

If you love card games where you’re sure that, this time, you’ve got it all figured out how to win, even though you’ve lost a million times before, you’ll love any version of Poison!

If you love starting your video games out on the most masochistic-sounding difficulty level, or if you simply have no friends left after the last time you stole from your roommate’s change jar to pay for your monthly WoW card, you’re gonna love any version of Poison!

If you hate Stephen Sondheim (excluding Sweeny Todd) because the fucking music never matches the setting, you’ll hate Poison (and every other German board game)!

If you hate games where an idiot will be able to boast at how much better he is than you at life because he was luckier than you for a round of play, and you can’t legally kill him (It’s always a him…), then you’ll hate Poison.

If you are willing to give up a day or two of your life for a board game that allows for choice, growth in tactical skills, and actual mental competition, then you’ll detest Poison!


What? Another poll? Big Deal?

I know these blogs are getting fewer and farther between, but honestly, I don’t have a full-time job where I can slack off whilst committing written assault on the one or two people who actually read this thing.  I’m searching for jobs whenever I have a free moment now, while submitting myself to the slave labor of the educational system (substitute teaching).  I don’t know if you know anything about slavery, but free time is the last thing allowed for any of them, which is one of the reasons I wonder why anyone sticks with it.  However, I promise to take this blog at the very least from the non-occurring status it had during the summer and fall to the fully sporadic state you see it in now.  It’s called suspense.  So, without further ado, here’s the poll!

Fantastic Fest Awards Gala

It’s been awhile since I was actually at Fantastic Fest, but there’s nothing like letting all of that blur of films age for a time and let them fight it out for superiority of my consciousness.  It’s strange to  finally be living in the town where my favorite film festival was located.  But, it was also the first year that my sister had attended the fest, so it was great getting to be there for that, even though we had to eschew some of the darker fare at the fest in favor of action and comedy.  Thankfully, this was a big year for action at the fest, even though not a lot of it ended up in my own particular award show.  Enough babbling!  Let’s get to the awards!

First Award:  Fantastic Fest Film Most Likely to Succeed in the Normal Film World, and Most Likely to Win an Oscar


This was one of those beautiful tragic period pieces that was a lot more about the tragedy of greed and love than it was about anything truly fantastic.  The protagonist suffers from agnosia, a disorder that causes the loss of ability to recognize sights or sounds.  Since she’s the daughter of an important inventor who has locked away a technology that would change the military world forever, naturally, a murderous group of corporate thieves kidnap her and attempt to fool her into giving them her secrets.  The sets, costumes, and scenery were breathtaking in places, and although there was never any hint at a happy ending in sight, it was still a beautiful film to watch.  I’m sure you’ll agree when you see it, as it will probably have the widest appeal of any of the foreign films at the fest.

Second Award:  Best of the Mainstream Films


Another big win for Spain, as their directors are once again showing just how ball-less their American counterparts are.  How sans balls are our guys?  Take a look at this supposedly “un-filmable” script:  a man is buried alive as part of a kidnapping/ransom plot.  Sound pretty typical, right?  How about if we film the whole thing from his point-of-view, with no cutaway shots of the rescue effort, his kidnappers, family, or anything outside of the coffin that’s barely big enough for him?  No takers?  Well, Rodrigo Cortes thinks he can do it, but he’s not going to be able to pull it off.  He’s just a Spaniard.  Oh wait, he just did it, and it’s terrifying.  And I wasn’t bored at all.  Although, seriously, a snake?

Third Award:  Best Comedy

Tie:  Drones/A Somewhat Gentle Man

I decided to cheat a little in this category and go with a tie, because these are really two different films that are hilarious for two very different reasons.  First, Drones might seem a typical workplace comedy, with witty dialogue and quirky characters set amongst the doldrums of working for a soul-sucking corporation no one cares anything about.  However, the fantastic twist here is that some of these characters are aliens vying for control of earth.  Well, some of them want control, some of them want to simply vaporize the planet, and some of them…well, you’ll have to see for yourself.  There are some great comedic performances from everyone (especially two former Freeks and Geekers), but my personal favorite has always been Angela Bettis, who feels like a time traveler from half-century ago when girls delivered wit that gave you whiplash.

I know you can’t tell anything from the trailer for A Somewhat Gentle Man, but trust me, it’s hilarious.  Stellan Skaarsgard is brilliant as a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and you see it in every pained expression on his face, on his submission toward various sexual escapades, and even in his smile.  His character, just been released from prison, has to deal with horny landladies, a former crime boss trying to get him back in the game, and battered women needing protection from their boyfriends, and all he wants from the world is to reconnect with the son he hardly knows.  This was a great film that stuck out from the crowd both because of its unabashed look at this character, and The Skarsgaaaaard’s performance itself.

Fourth Award:  Best Action Film

Fire of Conscience

Just watching that trailer made my jaw drop, and I’m here to tell you, the movie does not disappoint.  Imagine Michael Mann intensity and realistic action mixed with the ridiculous melodrama from the good old days of John Woo.  There are only so many times an individual can shake their head and say, “Daaaaamn,” during a viewing, and this film has just raised that bar.  There are kick-ass, intelligent criminals you can feel for, there are heroic cops (including a great female cop who got to shoot it out as much as anyone), and there are all the innocent shooting victims caught in the crossfire as they duke it out.  If you can have a climax of a movie where the hero can shoot it out whilst dueling the big baddie in the middle of a garage that’s belching with flames, all while delivering a baby, then that is a film you can pack up and sell, my friend.

Fifth Award:  Best Animated Feature

Summer Wars

Trust me when I say this film was only slightly beat out by the best film award winner.  I think the only reason why it was edged out is because basically, it’s just a little young for my taste.  However, don’t let that color anything about this film.  This is the kind of cartoon I wish I could have seen as a teen growing up.  The plot is so much more mature than any of the animal fetish bullshit our own country animates here.  It’s so much more philosophical and thought-provoking than the toilet humor cartoons on Fox, Adult Swim, or Comedy Central, all while still being funny as well.  A virus leaks into an online world and begins to grow and infest the computer-controlled real world.  The lives of the world are at stake, and only one family can stop them, if they can get past all their personal turmoil to work together.  We saw this as one of the late-night showings, and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to stay awake.  Once this movie gets going, though, you’ll be on the edge of your seat until it’s all over.

Final Award:  Best Picture of the Fest


How can I describe a movie whose trailer does it no justice and whose description will make it sound derivative?  How can I justify that this film is as good as any vamp/zombie film out this or any previous year, let alone the best of the fest?  I would simply have to tell you to trust me and watch it.  If you don’t believe me, ask anyone else who saw it.  The movie is awesome.  Even though you know it’s a little low-budget, even though there is some stilted dialogue in a couple of places, and even though I’m not sure the ending was as good as how it began, this is a film that came together brilliantly.  The plot?  It’s a post-apocalyptic tale about vampires that have taken over the world as an infection (very little difference from zombies, although they only want your blood and not your brains), and they have us all down to a few scattered outposts of warriors.  The main two characters are a duo of hunters traveling north where they hope the vamps will be less numerous.  Nothing you haven’t seen before, right?  Well, let me tell you that there’s definitely a new mix here, and the vamps aren’t even the creepiest part of this new world.  I wouldn’t want to give away any plot beyond that, but if you get a chance to get your hands on this one, don’t pass it up.  You won’t be disappointed.

Well, that’s it for this year’s award show.  Thanks for tuning in!

Welcome back from Oblivion! It’s a new poll!

I know, I know.  It’s been awhile.  However, in my defense, I have recently had to teleport myself across several states, and that was exhausting.  However, I’m jobless, so I have that going for me!  Enough of that; it’s poll time!

From an actual gamer teacher: Okay, let’s apply a little common sense when it comes to our “research”…

A recent article about video game effects on children came to my attention the other day, and I just had to comment on it.  The article, “Grand Theft Auto Is Good For You, Not So Fast…” by Dara Greenwood, is an interesting one, and she’s obviously well-researched in her findings about the psychological effects of video games on human beings.  The problem with her article is that, when it comes down to it, she’s not really saying anything we don’t already know to be true by applying a little logic, and the conclusions she draws from those observations once again seems to sound the fascist trumpet of uninformed censorship.

First point of common sense: exposure to violence in video games can have temporary effects on you.  I used to re-enact actions scenes from movies I’d see as a kid (Ian Holm trying to stuff a rolled-up magazine down Sigourney Weaver’s throat, for example…kidding).  People who go to see Trent Reznor in concert also get pumped up from his music and create, from what I’ve heard, legendary massive mosh pits full of thrashing idiots.  However, these same idiots still have to leave their theater, to continue the analogy drawn by Greenwood, get into their cars and drive home like civilized citizens, no doubt some of them even helping people in trouble along the way.  There may even be some who choose to remain uncivilized.  They may push and shove and try to start some shit with some punk in the parking lot who is spouting off a little too loudly about how much Korn rocks.  Those people will be taken away from society and not allowed back into it until they decide to start acting civilized.  My question is:  what does that have to do with anything?  Some people have violent tendencies.  Some people don’t, and that’s not going to change no matter how much media you subject them to.  You may be able to influence reaction times somewhat, as Greenwood cites in her example of movie theater patrons helping a person with crutches, but the basic character of a person is not going to change.  What Greenwood is incorrectly assuming here is that exposure to enough violence in video games, if it can even be compared to exposure to violent depiction in movies at all, which I don’t think it can, could eventually reach a breaking point to where a person will simply not react at all to real-life violence.  While I believe people can be naive about violence due to misrepresentation in both movies and video games, I believe that any media can only lead to truly changing personalities if two factors are true:

  1. Video games are played to such an excess that they begin to dwarf time spent in real life.
  2. There are no other proper behavioral influences in a person’s life.

I know that there were children who played violent video games who also were responsible for Columbine.  However, did one lead to another without the above two factors coming into play?  Absolutely not, and I would argue it never will.  I would even argue that the first of the two points above wouldn’t even need to be considered if there is someone helping to provide the second for the individual in question.  If the Columbine shooters had adequate parenting that supervised what their children spent their free time doing, making sure they talked with their kids about what kind of life they were having at school, and then interfering on the part of the constant bullying with which they were subjected, then we wouldn’t be talking about this tragedy today.  It’s just like Bill Maher’s recent tirade about how bad teachers in America are for our children:  it’s just another easy fix for us.  Blaming video games for influencing anything beyond a momentary increase in sensitivity reaction time is an easy fix that allows parents off the hook for their neglect.  What really scares me is when I imagine parents reading and nodding along with an article like Greenwood’s and deciding that the rating system isn’t enough.  Neither are the strict purchase policies enacted by just about every major retail chain when it comes to selling games to minors.  The “real” next step will be stopping such “filth” from existing at all.  However, the truth is, parents are the only real power that can affect whether their kid will be someone who will stop to help someone with crutches, or whether they will be the asshole who walks by and doesn’t even see it.  The buck stops there.  If you are reading an article like this, and you don’t see where the blame lies in anyone buying GTA for someone below the rating, then you don’t belong in the debate.  As for her unnecessary fear mongering when it comes to the application of the research in question in an educational environment:  Does Greenwood honestly think that the next step after the article she’s lambasting is going to be rolling out the game for our nation’s schools?  Of course not.  If I can’t even teach a Sherman Alexie book because the protagonist talks in one scene about hearing his parents having sex upstairs when he was younger, then there is no way my students will be bitch-slapping hookers anytime soon.

There are so many better video games out there than GTA that I would use in my classroom to create learning experiences.  However, because of the stigma and fear created by misinformed and illogical articles like Greenwood’s I’ll never have a chance to get them anywhere near a classroom.  Of course, I’m also smart enough to realize that I should be using my precious time to get my kids doing things they hate to do in their free time and think they’ll never use in real life:  reading, for example.  But I wouldn’t be against trying anything as an ice-breaker, even a good video game.

What Greenwood ignores is the beneficial path we could be taking as educational researchers.  We could be studying and learning what it is about the learning experiences in video games that makes them effective, what makes them addictive, and most of all, what makes the learners who experience them excited to be learners.  As long as Greenwood keeps setting fire to the forest, we’ll never find that path and fix the disconnect that currently exists between educational systems and students.

Just a quick break…

Because I was stupid and scheduled a trip to northern United States of America the weekend after a trip to southern United States of America (I’m reenacting the traveling part of the Civil War), I haven’t had any time to get any blogging done this week.  I promise I’ll be right back at it next week, and I’ve already got some great blogs planned, and a poll as well!  Keep on hanging on, peeps!  I’ll be back soon!