Hey, Kid, Got a Dollar?

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Hey, Kid, Got a Dollar?

There's a darker side growing in the free to play games market.

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As long as no one is complaining to the FTC about them, they're going to continue. They're also going to get shadier and shadier as time passes.

RvLeshrac:
As long as no one is complaining to the FTC about them, they're going to continue. They're also going to get shadier and shadier as time passes.

That's the thing... What are they doing wrong in the eyes of the law?

Computer games are for children; why bother regulating and understanding this evolving medium when we have to deal with more pressing adult issues like who is Americas next top model?

thats how my friend's small kid wasted 30 bucks on that damn ice age game...

I could easily see things like this leading to a distrust of all video games which would lead to another crash.

So be it, this industry is too big for it's own good and needs to be brought down in size.

Gotta hook 'em while they're young.

RvLeshrac:
As long as no one is complaining to the FTC about them, they're going to continue. They're also going to get shadier and shadier as time passes.

But if you file FTC complaints you're entitled and stuff!

Gather:

That's the thing... What are they doing wrong in the eyes of the law?

These things are largely advertised as free, which is intentionally misleading. That is the basis for an FTC investigation EVEN IF they decide the practice is kosher.

Since it's a way of getting parents to sign off on something which is invariably going to lead to problems with payment, that should be enough. There's precedent in 900 numbers in the early to mid eighties.

I still maintain that the goverment should ban all Microtransactions for virtual property. Right now there is nothing illegal about it, but that doesn't mean that it should remain legal. We can already see the immorality and exploitation involved, and that is exactly why laws have been created in the past. I see banning piece by piece charging for virtual property of this sort as equivilent to banning other scams throughout history, many of which were legal when they were first conceived, probably 90% of the stuff considered "White Collar Crime" wasn't illegal when people first started it. Heck, right now simply talking to your competition or people from companies your speculating on can be considered a crime under many circumstances, falling under "Insider Trading".

Bssically, the industry is not going to hit the "reset button" to the pre-microtransaction days of fully self contained products unless they are forced to do so. There is too much money to be made otherwise, which is why we ultimatly need Uncle Sam to break out the cudgel.

Of course given that we're dealing with what is now a billion dollar industry, I'd imagine the games industry as a whole is spending a lot of that money under the table to try and prevent that from happening.

Therumancer:

Bssically, the industry is not going to hit the "reset button" to the pre-microtransaction days of fully self contained products unless they are forced to do so.

Either this or another crash when people get sick of being nickel and dimed.

Crono1973:

Therumancer:

Bssically, the industry is not going to hit the "reset button" to the pre-microtransaction days of fully self contained products unless they are forced to do so.

Either this or another crash when people get sick of being nickel and dimed.

Possible, but unlikely. The reason simply being that they brought in all of the casuals and mainstream gamers, the lowest human denominator being ripe for exploitation. That's why I feel that it's actually the place of the goverment to step in to stop that exploitation when it's going on, since it's not liable to be a case where backlash straightens things out.

Even if there was a backlash in the US, you have to consider that the gaming industry will still be propping itself up with the Asian market where standards are substantially differant. After all this whole "microtransaction" thing is pretty much what companies were doing throughout Asia. You'll notice some of the more progressive nations in the area like Japan are already making moves to limit this, starting with the "Gacha" content (there was an article about this). In general if even Japan sees a problem with some of the bizzare marketing that takes place there, the Western World should start to take notice.

Right now if we see a crash, it's likely to only be an American (or perhaps western) crash and it just means we'll lose out in this competitive market, and see things shift back to total asian domination like we did. Now that Western games are starting to dominate I think we kind of need to take action to prevent the people in the industry from being too exploitive, in part because of the fact that they could destroy themselves with another crash which doesn't benefit anyone.

Now, I myself have pointed out an alternative here. I feel that if we're going to stand by trade in virtual property, that virtual property needs to be protected and assigned actual value. Among other things the companies doing this should be required by law to have their games backed by a trust to ensure indefinate operation, a trust being a bunch of money investd in such a way so as to continually grow and only allow a portion of the interest to be withdrawn at any given time. The idea here being that to create a game based on virtual property the company should have to not only develop a game, but have a trust in place that produces enough money to keep the servers operating indefinatly. Likewise the companies involved should be held liable for the value of the property in the game, perhaps even being required to insure themselves. Meaning that if they are going to charge you say $25 for something in a game, that item is worth $25, and all NDAs aside, if that property is lost they should be required to refund the price of the purchuse, especially since it exists on their servers and is under their protection.

That's the start of a big mess of course, which is why I suggest it's easier to just ban microtransactions and virtual property of the sort we're seeing, and require that games be self contained.

Possible, but unlikely. The reason simply being that they brought in all of the casuals and mainstream gamers, the lowest human denominator being ripe for exploitation.

The casuals are the least loyal group and the first to abandon them. It's why Nintendo is now regretting that they lost core gamers this gen. For all their success, they know they can't live on casual gamers, many of who are playing games on their phones now.

Even if there was a backlash in the US, you have to consider that the gaming industry will still be propping itself up with the Asian market where standards are substantially differant.

The 1983 crash was NA only wasn't it, it was still a crash.

After all this whole "microtransaction" thing is pretty much what companies were doing throughout Asia. You'll notice some of the more progressive nations in the area like Japan are already making moves to limit this, starting with the "Gacha" content (there was an article about this). In general if even Japan sees a problem with some of the bizzare marketing that takes place there, the Western World should start to take notice.

If if the government does nothing, it might cause a crash there too as parents begin to push their kids away from playing games because of trust issues.

Right now if we see a crash, it's likely to only be an American (or perhaps western) crash and it just means we'll lose out in this competitive market, and see things shift back to total asian domination like we did.

Yes but more like the 2 year gap between the crash in 1983 to the release of the NES in 1985. A crash would mean that retailers would want no part of gaming and it would no longer be mainstream, for NA.

Now that Western games are starting to dominate I think we kind of need to take action to prevent the people in the industry from being too exploitive, in part because of the fact that they could destroy themselves with another crash which doesn't benefit anyone.

Well, the greedy nature of western game companies doesn't make me want to save them. I almost feel like Japanese companies are doing all the microtransactions to keep up with western companies. For example, Final Fantasy XIII needed no DLC according to SE, it's sequel has ridiculous amounts. That's a quick transition.

Now, I myself have pointed out an alternative here. I feel that if we're going to stand by trade in virtual property, that virtual property needs to be protected and assigned actual value. Among other things the companies doing this should be required by law to have their games backed by a trust to ensure indefinate operation, a trust being a bunch of money investd in such a way so as to continually grow and only allow a portion of the interest to be withdrawn at any given time. The idea here being that to create a game based on virtual property the company should have to not only develop a game, but have a trust in place that produces enough money to keep the servers operating indefinatly. Likewise the companies involved should be held liable for the value of the property in the game, perhaps even being required to insure themselves. Meaning that if they are going to charge you say $25 for something in a game, that item is worth $25, and all NDAs aside, if that property is lost they should be required to refund the price of the purchuse, especially since it exists on their servers and is under their protection.

That sounds like a plan, all DD should be insured. This idea that you could lose all your Steam games one day is scary.

That's the start of a big mess of course, which is why I suggest it's easier to just ban microtransactions and virtual property of the sort we're seeing, and require that games be self contained.

This is fine too, at the very least, no microtransactions in games lower than a Mature rating.

Jeremy Monken:
Hey, Kid, Got a Dollar?

There's a darker side growing in the free to play games market.

Read Full Article

Thank you for this. As a gamer and an educator, this has been eating at me immensely. Whenever I raise my voice against it, all I hear back is, "Well, they're companies. They're supposed to make money." Either that, or they insult the people who "fall for it," calling them some variant of stupid consumerist sheep.

I find it reprehensible enough that we allow these companies to produce games that target adults. They use psychological tools and tricks that have resulted from billions of dollars of research into how to manipulate other human beings... but those "customers" don't have access to billions of dollars of research into how to recognize and resist that manipulation. Not everyone sees things with perfect clarity.

Especially children. See, that's where it gets just plain bleak. There are plenty of adults who have learned to resist the manipulation of advertisements -- even those as insidious as the in-game variety -- but they weren't always that way.

It's a Terminator plan. You're going to grow up to be too smart to fool, so we're going to "go back in time" and get you before you become that smart. And then, still believing you're too smart to be fooled, you'll dance to our tune.

_____________

Now for a separate rant: The increasing "gamification" of education is doing the same thing. It's not new, either. We've been doing it for a long time. We reward kids for every tiny "accomplishment." We're constantly telling them how smart they are for tying their shoes or wearing pants correctly. Rewards and praise are a currency, and we're inflating it.

We're too interested in the short-term results -- 'Hey, I made science class feel like a game, and the kids liked my class more! Grades even went up a little!" Yeah, this year. The next teacher is going to have to do the same thing, but with bigger and better rewards.

What's more, there's plenty of evidence that these hyperactive reward schedules are actually reducing student achievement in the long-term. Consider the "Book-It" program.

Book-It, sponsored by Pizza Hut, is a reading incentive program. I went through it in elementary school. I'd read a book, write a short "book report" on it, and get a certificate for a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. The idea is to reward students for reading.

The real result? Kids in programs like this are reading shorter books. And when the program ends, or they grow out of it, the reading habit doesn't continue. Why? Because the game was the point of the activity, instead of the activity being its own point.

It's the same problem of "motivating through manipulation" that we see in these "free to play" games... it's just that we believe the mechanism is being used for good instead of evil. Short term results, long term harm. But hey, that's the next year teacher's problem, ain't it?

There are tons of great games that go on sale for free on the App Store every single day. (and I mean ones that were paid apps that become free, not the ones that are just made free and make money through in-app purchases)

Yes, there are a fair share of games that abuse the hell out of in-app purchases (I myself am very annoyed at what happened to To-Fu: The Trials of Chi, especially considering that's a game I actually PAID for and they're still expecting in-app purchases from me...)

But if you ignore the games that just try to squeeze the money from the players wallets, you eventually realize that the iOS market is a market where you can get literally HUNDREDS of good games for FREE if you just take the time to look around and do some research.

I currently have 127 games in my iTunes (and I've deleted a lot of them) and I've only paid for...MAYBE a quarter of them. The rest I just found by checking the top free games, and thanks to the Youtube channel TheGameTrail for often uploading videos of the best free games of the day.

I'm a little sad that a market that offers awesome free games to people gets so much hatred from gamers, especially when one of the biggest complaints in the gaming community these days is that games are too expensive.

Ah, how times have changed since making a joke about getting money from kids got you knocked off TV for a couple of weeks.

More simply put, "free-to-play" is an abomination. Back in the Shareware days, only products that were actually GOOD could afford the risk of giving out a free sample and relying on its quality to draw in follow-on purchases (DOOM). But now with the awful advent of micro-transactions the whole point of giving the teaser away for free has been lost, because there's no "there" there. There's no game that's worth playing in the first place - it's just a sham designed to give you game-like rewards in exchange for money.

Of course I have my iTunes password locked all 24/7 so when my neice wants to download more Angry Birds she has to come to me and I say "no". Anyone who gives their kids an unlocked device that has direct access to their credit card is fracking insane.

Yes, let's place the onus on the businesses whose job it is to make money (doing anything less is grounds for legal action from shareholders) and not on the parents.

This mentality people have nowadays of wanting the world to work for them instead of them actively, you know, being a parent, is mind boggling. But of course you only agree with me when it comes to things you do like; say, they want to change video game rating laws to make it easier for parents - up in arms, the lot of you. But because it's EA and them damn businesses trying to make money, suddenly everyone is worried about the children.

Strain42:
There are tons of great games that go on sale for free on the App Store every single day. (and I mean ones that were paid apps that become free, not the ones that are just made free and make money through in-app purchases)

Yes, there are a fair share of games that abuse the hell out of in-app purchases (I myself am very annoyed at what happened to To-Fu: The Trials of Chi, especially considering that's a game I actually PAID for and they're still expecting in-app purchases from me...)

But if you ignore the games that just try to squeeze the money from the players wallets, you eventually realize that the iOS market is a market where you can get literally HUNDREDS of good games for FREE if you just take the time to look around and do some research.

I currently have 127 games in my iTunes (and I've deleted a lot of them) and I've only paid for...MAYBE a quarter of them. The rest I just found by checking the top free games, and thanks to the Youtube channel TheGameTrail for often uploading videos of the best free games of the day.

I'm a little sad that a market that offers awesome free games to people gets so much hatred from gamers, especially when one of the biggest complaints in the gaming community these days is that games are too expensive.

Because the majority of gamers are entitled and believe every game should be perfect for them and they shouldn't have to look for it. It's the reason you hear so many clowns going on about how the RPG genre is dead and has been converted into things like Mass Effect 2 and 3. A simple Google search shows hundreds of RPGs that are as oldschool as it gets--think, Baulder's Gate--for sale from independent and larger companies all over the world. Hell, there's a sale on right now for one such new RPG series on Steam.

The way this community behaves, you'd be forgiven for believing it's composed entirely of twelve-year-olds.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Yes, let's place the onus on the businesses whose job it is to make money (doing anything less is grounds for legal action from shareholders) and not on the parents.

This mentality people have nowadays of wanting the world to work for them instead of them actively, you know, being a parent, is mind boggling. But of course you only agree with me when it comes to things you do like; say, they want to change video game rating laws to make it easier for parents - up in arms, the lot of you. But because it's EA and them damn businesses trying to make money, suddenly everyone is worried about the children.

Off topic really, but I think the majority of people here at the Escapist WANT stronger ratings, so long as when a game is given a 18 or 'Mature' rating, it's allowed to be that, violence and sexual content should be allowed. We WANT clear ratings so that parents can do their job (and admittedly so we can blame them when they buy GTA for their 8 year old despite being advised not to by the store clerk.)

I would however say many parents don't understand just how much access you get to stuff, when you have a smartphone or the like, and they need to be informed about how easy it is to spend money on nothing, and lots of it, however.

I would however, like to see some regulation brought in, that when some kid goes mental, unknowingly running up $1000 bills on Mom's credit card, the companies should do the decent thing, charge an admin fee of ,say $50, remove the content and refund the spend, as anyone blowing $1000 on a free game doesn't know what they're doing. It's pretty much guaranteed to be a kid who's somehow got access to a parent's card that they shouldn't have, and it shouldn't be a case of take your own child to court or suck it up.

I'm normally the one going 'do some damn parenting' but so much of this stuff is a mystery to parents and I don't think the industry does much to help educate them.

SenseOfTumour:
I'm normally the one going 'do some damn parenting' but so much of this stuff is a mystery to parents and I don't think the industry does much to help educate them.

That's my issue. It would be nice if the companies made it easier for parents, but that's not their job and it shouldn't be expected. It's this whole mentality people have of wanting everything to be easy and everyone else doing their bit to help them. If you want your child to be able to use, say, an iPhone, it's your job to know the ins and outs of it.

Again, yeah, would be nice if it were easier, but people just want to be lazy parents and expect the world to half their job. Parenting aint easy and the job of business is to get as much money out of you as possible--this shouldn't be news to people.

Dastardly:

Jeremy Monken:
Hey, Kid, Got a Dollar?

There's a darker side growing in the free to play games market.

Read Full Article

Had to read this article twice to even attempt to get at what Mr. Monken was even talking about. No.. No... I know what he "wanted" to say, but what he was really talking about.

I really like your response, so let's chat about it.

Thank you for this. As a gamer and an educator, this has been eating at me immensely. Whenever I raise my voice against it, all I hear back is, "Well, they're companies. They're supposed to make money." Either that, or they insult the people who "fall for it," calling them some variant of stupid consumerist sheep.

Recently Peter Moore discussed how retailers where "purveyors of the digital media". It's an interesting use of the word. On the one hand we could say they are purchasing for resale intellectual property like an art dealer, on the other, and taking a look at the theme of DICE 2012 this year. Gamer life cycle: Eat Sleep Play. The idea seems to be that interacting with these modern forms of artifice are necessarily essential. At least, that's the idea. Food dealers. I don't know about "supposed" to make money, but one must assume for reason's sake, that was and is the intent of these companies and individuals. There is a double speak and double standard for sure.

It's selling cotton candy (at best) as if it where salted pork and hard tack, and saying "it's the same thing". It fails utilitarianism or any pragmatic investigation for that matter.

I find it reprehensible enough that we allow these companies to produce games that target adults. They use psychological tools and tricks that have resulted from billions of dollars of research into how to manipulate other human beings... but those "customers" don't have access to billions of dollars of research into how to recognize and resist that manipulation. Not everyone sees things with perfect clarity.

It's not anything new though, some of the Freud family went into administration, politics, and advertising. Using the skills and techniques pioneered by Sigmund. The VAST majority of video "games" are hardly anything more than skinner boxes with 60 dollar cover charges. I have attended management meetings at Chemical companies FFS that have openly stated "we do not advertise based on empirical information, we advertise based on implication (implied value)."

If a po-dunk Chemical company is candid about it, I think it's pretty much assured that a large conglomerate publisher of video games has it in neon "somewhere" in the building.

My point is this, most everyone knows, and no one cares. In fact, that is the whole idea behind the idea. In the wake of confusion there will always be a waste of money.

Especially children. See, that's where it gets just plain bleak. There are plenty of adults who have learned to resist the manipulation of advertisements -- even those as insidious as the in-game variety -- but they weren't always that way.

It's a Terminator plan. You're going to grow up to be too smart to fool, so we're going to "go back in time" and get you before you become that smart. And then, still believing you're too smart to be fooled, you'll dance to our tune.

Considering that it is a business that has grown by leaps and bounds, I would have to disagree, however, for the smaller developer ohh.. I mean "purveyor" of food stuffs, the kiddie market is untapped, and heck, one doesn't even have to really try very hard. The younger the audience (even mentally) the less one has to "hide" the fleecing.

Every slant, every bent of the product is designed specifically to capture that market. A young child with free reign access to an I-whatever, falls within a certain financial means and are clearly, the weakest "cork" between a wallet and profits. Some call it art?

Now for a separate rant: The increasing "gamification" of education is doing the same thing. It's not new, either. We've been doing it for a long time. We reward kids for every tiny "accomplishment." We're constantly telling them how smart they are for tying their shoes or wearing pants correctly. Rewards and praise are a currency, and we're inflating it.

Really astute statement... going to have to write that down. Thing is, "gamification" looks to be just another pop term to generate buzz, to create a market, in which a new platform can be used to sufficiently justify the creation of crap content. Hell, I have looked into it to see if it was feasible to get a government contract for development. MANY companies are. I didn't look into it to "educate", I looked into it as a profit vehicle. Your an educator, it's for you to call bullshit on this stuff.

We're too interested in the short-term results -- 'Hey, I made science class feel like a game, and the kids liked my class more! Grades even went up a little!" Yeah, this year. The next teacher is going to have to do the same thing, but with bigger and better rewards.

Needs pilot programs and empirical results held against a control or a series of controls to work out what is working and what isn't. Until there is data it's a hypothesis at best.

What's more, there's plenty of evidence that these hyperactive reward schedules are actually reducing student achievement in the long-term. Consider the "Book-It" program.

Reward systems have demonstrated a plateau of engagement as long as the reward is scheduled in a linear progression. Look at something like the "loot grinder", Diablo and others... MMO's are notorious for this. Gambling centers discovered this as well. Random reward schedules break up this plateau. The question is, are the audience engaged or grinding out? Needs more evidence and data to support it one way or the other.

Book-It, sponsored by Pizza Hut, is a reading incentive program. I went through it in elementary school. I'd read a book, write a short "book report" on it, and get a certificate for a free personal pan pizza at Pizza Hut. The idea is to reward students for reading.

The real result? Kids in programs like this are reading shorter books. And when the program ends, or they grow out of it, the reading habit doesn't continue. Why? Because the game was the point of the activity, instead of the activity being its own point.

The fact that the game was systematized to facilitate a segway to corporate product "pizza" would of been the first indicator. However, it is hard to say "at the time" if the marketing folk at the pizza joint were aware or even cared about the long term results. Teaching someone to "care" is extremely difficult if not impossible. You do remember that it was sponsored by Pizza-Hut... so there we are mission accomplished.

It's the same problem of "motivating through manipulation" that we see in these "free to play" games... it's just that we believe the mechanism is being used for good instead of evil. Short term results, long term harm. But hey, that's the next year teacher's problem, ain't it?

Good and Evil are impossible to put to quantitative structure outside of the cultural paradigms from which the terms are being defined. That is to say that they are indicators of "limits" of acceptable mores.

I like where your going with this, and I see it OFTEN in industry, politics, name it. For simplicity sake it's oft times just called "kick the can". Padding around the problem rather than addressing it head on.

Such as:

Give a war veteran a video game to blow off steam rather than a psychologist to discuss the trauma.

Give a kid a video game instead of engaging the kid in a more one on one setting.

Put the lesson in the video game instead of engaging the material to a standard with testing.

To some degree it is the cultural paradigm of the western, and "strongly" American view point of life the universe and everything. It's lazy, it's lacks empathy, and is demonstrably short sighted as far as worthwhile goals are concerned for the audience. It's a confidence game, artifice.

Read the article again, Mr. Monken is NOT talking about anything you mentioned. He is talking about structuring game design around the game being a vehicle for profits utilizing different methodologies.

Problems I have with what he is saying.

I am able to make 3:1, 4:1, maybe even 5:1 crap games that capture 1 percent in fractions of the time and cost. So why would I make a game that attempts to capture a 15 percent returns when I am able to flush through half a dozen games at 1/3 the cost? Because of my "ethical responsibility?" HAHA!

The problem with that is that he has to justify what is different between a game created to make money and a game created to make money. They are both purveyors. Both selling cotton candy. Neither game really does anything outside of it's entertainment "value". There are no "minors" with an "I-whatever" with a legally binding subscription contract, so it falls to the parents which enabled the scheme to work in the first place.

Market forces will have to mitigate these products, but like any digital medium, porn included; as long as there is a market there will be a product produced and provided to capture it. This article is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Shame that.

The problem is app stores really need an ignore and a sorting mechanism. I want to ignore all of the games by EA, I want to ignore all of the games by Zynga. With those off the app lists I could see other things to try but its just too much of an asspain to scroll through 800 other apps to find something interesting.

Also at least for android 99.99% of the stuff out there is terrible.

Angry Birds is good, plants vs zombies is good. I haven't seen anything else that is really worth it.

Thanks for this well-thought-out response. I'll attempt to balance brevity with doing your response justice. Please, forgive any failings:

mfeff:
Every slant, every bent of the product is designed specifically to capture that market. A young child with free reign access to an I-whatever, falls within a certain financial means and are clearly, the weakest "cork" between a wallet and profits. Some call it art?

And the first portion of my post really centers on a lot of this. The idea is to capture the market when they are very young. We're not just trying to convince them to want our product. We're teaching them to fall for the next commercial's "tricks." We're leading them to believe we're their best source of information. We're using these tactics to train them to be obedient customers.

I know it sounds a bit Orwellian, and I'm aware that I'm overstating things a bit. This is, however, how the whole thing feels to me. Advertising is an entire industry based around doing just that, and these "freemium" games (as many currently exist) are essentially interactive commercials for the virtual goods, services, and currencies they're peddling.

Really astute statement... going to have to write that down. Thing is, "gamification" looks to be just another pop term to generate buzz, to create a market, in which a new platform can be used to sufficiently justify the creation of crap content. Hell, I have looked into it to see if it was feasible to get a government contract for development. MANY companies are. I didn't look into it to "educate", I looked into it as a profit vehicle. Your an educator, it's for you to call bullshit on this stuff.

Agreed. And I don't mind folks being open about the profit motivation. I need money to eat, too, so I understand. My problem, again, is how it's being billed: As some kind of noble endeavor to improve young minds. Some folks honestly believe it, to be sure, while others know that's just how you sell something.

Needs pilot programs and empirical results held against a control or a series of controls to work out what is working and what isn't. Until there is data it's a hypothesis at best.

Actually, I'm speaking from experience. Gamification is a relatively new term, but the practice is an old one. Plenty of elementary schools use a "token economy" system, or provide treats for good performance, or other structured incentive programs intended to distract students from any feeling of "work." (Systems like this can be beneficial, if based on long-range goals, with sufficient emphasis placed on effort and the seeking of challenge. Most of the time, though, they only apply to one school year... or, most often, one short grading period.)

These systems cause a lot of problems when the students move into a grade or school that doesn't use them. In fact, even when you do continue them to the next grade, you'll still have problems with students expecting more for less. It's human nature -- we acclimate ourselves to the reward, and it loses its power.

Reward systems have demonstrated a plateau of engagement as long as the reward is scheduled in a linear progression. Look at something like the "loot grinder", Diablo and others... MMO's are notorious for this. Gambling centers discovered this as well. Random reward schedules break up this plateau. The question is, are the audience engaged or grinding out? Needs more evidence and data to support it one way or the other.

And even then, that's just the most basic kind of "engagement." A slot machine only needs to bait you into pulling a lever. These reward schedules are good for the superficial performance of simple, prescribed behaviors. You might get Johnny to say, "Please," by occasionally giving him a treat when he does it... but this says absolutely nothing about whether or not Johnny understands the reason for doing so. In fact, it eclipses that reason (Showing consideration for other humans) with another, more immediate reason (Candy!).

We're not training animals to perform abstract behaviors for our convenience. At least, we shouldn't be. Yes, getting them to perform the behavior is step one, but we shouldn't be building our own roadblocks to step two: understanding the reason for the behavior, and allowing that to be the reason for performing it.

Good and Evil are impossible to put to quantitative structure outside of the cultural paradigms from which the terms are being defined. That is to say that they are indicators of "limits" of acceptable mores.

I like where your going with this, and I see it OFTEN in industry, politics, name it. For simplicity sake it's oft times just called "kick the can". Padding around the problem rather than addressing it head on.

I'm simply speaking about the general perception of good and evil. You can pretty easily get folks to agree that using shady tactics to convince kids to spend money is "a bad thing," just like you can convince people that when the enemy tortures our captured troops it's "a bad thing." But when those same tactics are being used to ostensibly benefit a side with which we identify? It gets harder to draw that line. In short, people believe the end justifies the means, and they don't look very hard at whether or not a particular "end" is really as good as it sounds.

Read the article again, Mr. Monken is NOT talking about anything you mentioned. He is talking about structuring game design around the game being a vehicle for profits utilizing different methodologies.

I think it's a case of realizing the beast can't be killed... but it can be leashed. Yes, companies will keep trying to pull these tricks, and yes, they'll always go as far as you'll let them. So, the idea is to rein it in a bit. I just went on a mildly-tangential trip into where the same methods (used for "Good," namely education) can cause the same kinds of problems if we don't also monitor them in that setting.

Dastardly:

I think it's a case of realizing the beast can't be killed... but it can be leashed.

Well said.

Formica Archonis:
Ah, how times have changed since making a joke about getting money from kids got you knocked off TV for a couple of weeks.

You are soooooo old. :)

(And I'm just as bad for knowing what you were referring to without even having to click the link.)

Dastardly:
Thanks for this well-thought-out response. I'll attempt to balance brevity with doing your response justice. Please, forgive any failings:

It's all good in the hood as they say. Just a conversation to attempt to approximate some truth of the matter. Often try to get around relative, and resolve to find reasonable, and I think you have done that here.

And the first portion of my post really centers on a lot of this. The idea is to capture the market when they are very young. We're not just trying to convince them to want our product. We're teaching them to fall for the next commercial's "tricks." We're leading them to believe we're their best source of information. We're using these tactics to train them to be obedient customers.

I tend to agree with this. Unfortunately as it has been my experience it is difficult to shift someone from an ontological position to an empirical or even engage the notion that an ontological frame is good as a basis of an epistemology, but is not information in and of itself. It reminds me of Mark Twain when he said "I've never let my school interfere with my education." Discernment of a subject and it's matter (in my book) is the preeminent indicator of maturity. It's difficult to teach in a round a bout way. When I have a chance to work with young people it is something I bring up all the time. I will say something, later I will say it was a lie, and ask them why it is a lie. As it has also been an observation that one who lie's is often times as susceptible or more so, to lies themselves. A bit of the old "universal culpability".

I know it sounds a bit Orwellian, and I'm aware that I'm overstating things a bit. This is, however, how the whole thing feels to me. Advertising is an entire industry based around doing just that, and these "freemium" games (as many currently exist) are essentially interactive commercials for the virtual goods, services, and currencies they're peddling.

There some merit here, but I would be of the mind to say that it may be closer to the "self fulfilling prophecy", rather than by a master-mind intention. So long as the who, what, when, where, why has a "why" that is privileged above all others, we find ourselves in a world of massive subjectivity. It begins to become clear why someone may take some trash from a junk yard, spray paint it, and sell it on in the museum for a couple grand. Catering to the subjective is patently "sure fire" to selling nothing, for something. Or in this case, sneaking some shit into the game. It's a three card Monty.

Agreed. And I don't mind folks being open about the profit motivation. I need money to eat, too, so I understand. My problem, again, is how it's being billed: As some kind of noble endeavor to improve young minds. Some folks honestly believe it, to be sure, while others know that's just how you sell something.

That is just it, it's not about improving young minds. It's about making a buck. If someone learned something great, if not, great. Many a college figured this out some time ago and charge for services well before they are rendered. In many instances in my own education the "professor" was nothing more than a test proctor. If I learned at all, it was almost solely due to my own effort. Nothing was really taught. Sign of the times maybe?

Actually, I'm speaking from experience. Gamification is a relatively new term, but the practice is an old one. Plenty of elementary schools use a "token economy" system, or provide treats for good performance, or other structured incentive programs intended to distract students from any feeling of "work." (Systems like this can be beneficial, if based on long-range goals, with sufficient emphasis placed on effort and the seeking of challenge. Most of the time, though, they only apply to one school year... or, most often, one short grading period.)

These systems cause a lot of problems when the students move into a grade or school that doesn't use them. In fact, even when you do continue them to the next grade, you'll still have problems with students expecting more for less. It's human nature -- we acclimate ourselves to the reward, and it loses its power.

I certainly have no cause to not accept what your saying as approximating fact. My only real experience in education is as a flight instructor, a maintenance instructor, a team lead, and a guest instructor of martial arts occasionally I take kids out sailing. As it has been my experience and general practice I typically rely on negative reinforcement rather than positive reinforcement. Perhaps to much? Often I try to let the goal be the goal apparent and avoid micro goals. It's a focus on "pride in the work", rather than ignoring the "work" aspect altogether. As a parent I notice that my approach is considerably different, so in that there are differences. Many of which I am learning as I go.

That all said, the educator of the young are perhaps the best source of information and experience when designing systems. How much is that actually done though? I have seen a lot of pseudo educators in the "games" field, that have next to no experience actually "teaching".

And even then, that's just the most basic kind of "engagement." A slot machine only needs to bait you into pulling a lever. These reward schedules are good for the superficial performance of simple, prescribed behaviors. You might get Johnny to say, "Please," by occasionally giving him a treat when he does it... but this says absolutely nothing about whether or not Johnny understands the reason for doing so. In fact, it eclipses that reason (Showing consideration for other humans) with another, more immediate reason (Candy!).

We're not training animals to perform abstract behaviors for our convenience. At least, we shouldn't be. Yes, getting them to perform the behavior is step one, but we shouldn't be building our own roadblocks to step two: understanding the reason for the behavior, and allowing that to be the reason for performing it.

Whoa there Tex! Your getting dangerously close to a Socratic dialog here! <grin>

The Platonic simile of the line is pretty clear on this, starting from the shadow and working up the ladder of ontological observation, coupled with epidemiological ground that justifies the a priory observation leads us to "knowledge". As it was more or less said, if you can't gimme the form(ula), you don't know it. It begs a certain ability to explain a thing to have the grounds to claim that one "knows" a thing. Aristotle coming from this Platonic school gives us an early form of empiricism in the western tradition.

If the student cannot explain it, they clearly do not "know it" under this categorization. The world is full of falsehoods expressed as "facts".

It's the tough sell for sure. It shouldn't surprise you that many of the arguments coming out of "the industry" are heavily leveraged in an ontological status, one of the more modern schools of thought on it is called "OOO", or "Object Oriented Ontology". The biggest criticism... it fails Socratic dialog/process philosophy.

Same old girl, all new wrapper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_ontology

I'm simply speaking about the general perception of good and evil. You can pretty easily get folks to agree that using shady tactics to convince kids to spend money is "a bad thing," just like you can convince people that when the enemy tortures our captured troops it's "a bad thing." But when those same tactics are being used to ostensibly benefit a side with which we identify? It gets harder to draw that line. In short, people believe the end justifies the means, and they don't look very hard at whether or not a particular "end" is really as good as it sounds.

It's a reasonable place to start. For example, in Japan it is not uncommon to come across teenage girls engaged in casual prostitution for no better reason than to fund designer clothing. It is culturally acceptable but perhaps noteworthy as perhaps not having the "best future" in the long run. I buy that.

I find myself obliged to state that it is a cultural casualty. Just as video games are cultural artifice. For me the idea seems to be a "chasing after an aesthetic", rather than "seeking to know". As you mentioned, it is a matter of attribution. There is also a begging of the "false dichotomy", or "Manichean dichotomy". The Manichean dichotomy is often sited as the foundational element of modern propaganda. Heck, St. Thomas Aquinas was "Sainted" for making an argument against it.

Referenced many times when discussing "potentiality" vs. "actuality". Pressing forward leads the novice philosopher into the territory of "practice what you preach", or "stfu". It's an unsavory dish if all one does is preach while practicing something else.

One does this though as it enriches the education... "I do it this way because of this...", "I live it this way because of this...", "Why, because". Maybe not the best solution, but a workable solution, a reasonable solution. If we don't see "reason" it's likely cause it's not there to see.

Read the article again, Mr. Monken is NOT talking about anything you mentioned. He is talking about structuring game design around the game being a vehicle for profits utilizing different methodologies.

I think it's a case of realizing the beast can't be killed... but it can be leashed. Yes, companies will keep trying to pull these tricks, and yes, they'll always go as far as you'll let them. So, the idea is to rein it in a bit. I just went on a mildly-tangential trip into where the same methods (used for "Good," namely education) can cause the same kinds of problems if we don't also monitor them in that setting.

The issue to clarify where I was coming from is that his complaint started with an appeal to emotion. So I took his complaint and his opinion as to the target audience and tabled it.

Then I read the article again.

Basically I concluded that the real argument was one of a pitch for a lemonade stand.

One lemonade purveyor offered 1 percent sugar, with sugar pay as you go.

The other lemonade purveyor offered 15 percent sugar, with sugar pay as you go.

They are both lemonade stands. They are both offering sugar sweetened products for no other purpose than to entertain. The structural difference is in where the "price" was gated.

The claim is that one may make a "better" product that is still profitable. I am sure that is possible, no issue with that. However, it never really addresses what is actually being sold. Vapid-ware? On a system that must be CC gated and to my knowledge Password gated to make purchases on via a service, which seems fairly explicit requires an adult to have had signed off on, registered for, and demonstrated a sufficient credit score to have had access to begin with.

The break down is that an adult is going to have to step in, and be a part of the process the whole way through. If it's educational, educators "one would think" would be a part of the process in much the same way.

Not having oversight is simply irresponsible, and unfortunate as it is, opens the doors to the gate when one clearly hears, sees, and smells wolves right outside.

This is a wolf calling another wolf a wolf... it tosses the responsibility back onto the purveyor to regulate quality and does so by devising a cost to price structure. It's an advice piece on how to make a better lemonade stand (maybe). It does so without addressing the end user who buy this dribble. It's a false dichotomy, that lacks valid information as to why crap-ware is so prevalent, why it works, how much is made from it.

The audience... is a chimp... or a chump. Whatever adjective works best.

Great conversation so far.

There are two aspects to these products that really need to die. One is the way they trick children into spending their parents' money without consent. There have been a ton of businesses pop up with this sort of model over the years and the only people who can get them shut down are vocal parents, co-ordinating in an effort to force government to act.

The other aspect is simply the way they deceptively present as free a product which in fact is nothing of the sort. Where demos and shareware are upfront and honest about the total amount the consumer is expected to end up paying for the full experience, these games try to lure you in, knowing that once you've invested a certain amount of time in the game you'll not want to throw it all away for just a few dollars more.

It's all about deceiving people about how much something costs in order to make them pay more for it than they would if given all the information ahead of time. It's not good capitalism. It's not all part of the free market. Nor is it a failure on the part of the consumer. We need some systems of trust in order to operate an efficient market. That's what regulation provides and that's why this sort of practice should and will be shut down.

Susan Arendt:

Formica Archonis:
Ah, how times have changed since making a joke about getting money from kids got you knocked off TV for a couple of weeks.

You are soooooo old. :)

Hey, now. It's not like I was one of the kids sending the green paper. Or one of their parents!:)

Susan Arendt:
(And I'm just as bad for knowing what you were referring to without even having to click the link.)

Is there a port 'round here where us old battleships can go to get mothballed?:)

So very, very true.
It's nice when you get to that point in a free-to-play game where you feel it genuinely deserves to get some of your money. Probably not the best example but Stronghold Kingdoms actually did it for me strangely enough. You can easily get through that entire game without spending a penny, but you get to a point when you think, eh they deserve some of my money.

But yeah there are way too many news f2p games targeting vulnerable audiences.

"It's no shocker that the good will fostered by the games industry is being manipulated and fed on by short-sighted, greedy monsters."

Truer words have never been said.

Way I see it, I am far more likely to drop money on say, World of Tanks because it's fully playable without spending money. I always believe that free-to-play games should follow the usual triangle. Money, time and effort. Use one and ignore the other two. Put work into a free game and it should reward you. Put time into a free game and it should reward you. But, if you're a casual player who doesn't have so much time on their hands, then just spend a little money and skip the time and effort.

So long as everything paid has a free equivalent, no matter how hard to attain, I won't see a problem.

However. Right now...being given some sample currency and some starter items, then being pushed with an open palm and pleading puppy-eyes is just...not right.

I have an example of a game that fits this description. Jetpack Joyride. It's fun to play and everything you can buy with real money is purely aesthetic with the exception of the coin magnet upgrades but even then you can still get everything for free it just takes a lot longer than if you pay.

While I'd absolutely kill for there to be a better regulation system for these games so that people don't get their money swindled out of them through freemium bullcrap, the problem is... they haven't really broken any laws.

I mean, unless there's concentrated public support against this (and let's be honest here; the only people that notice this problem are the hardcore gamers with a knack for common sense and economics, and they're more concerned with the CoD and Madden problem than this), the companies have no incentive to stop. WE, the educated gaming public, are not the target demographic. The target demographic here is the uneducated casual that'll buy anything that looks amusing but can be shelved quickly, and inserting little goodies one at a time will ensure an even profit.

And there's not really a damn thing we can do about it, save for finding every casual gaming friend we can, taking them by the shoulders, and shaking them repeatedly, yelling, "Stop falling for the freemium system!"

But that's not happening. As long as companies like Zynga aren't 'technically' breaking any laws with this system, we're not going to see any change. And this isn't like Gilded Age laissez-faire economics. This isn't going to crash the economy. It's merely a way to sucker people out of a couple more dollars, and the only people that notice aren't exactly the people that will be losing these companies money in the first place.

... I want to be the optimist, the idealist here, but there's honestly no way this is getting remedied anytime soon.

There was a phrase I heard somewhere. Um, oh yeah, Fuck EA. The freemium begging games are akin to gambling, and now they are predatory towards kids. Fuck EA.

Sorry for the delay -- crazy couple of days!

mfeff:
There some merit here, but I would be of the mind to say that it may be closer to the "self fulfilling prophecy", rather than by a master-mind intention. So long as the who, what, when, where, why has a "why" that is privileged above all others, we find ourselves in a world of massive subjectivity. It begins to become clear why someone may take some trash from a junk yard, spray paint it, and sell it on in the museum for a couple grand. Catering to the subjective is patently "sure fire" to selling nothing, for something. Or in this case, sneaking some shit into the game. It's a three card Monty.

I think there's a certain amount of malice behind these strategies. Not quite mustache-twirling, but close enough for my tastes. They're deliberately going after an age group with minimal faculties for sorting fact from fiction -- taking candy from babies, as it were. As a teacher, I'm paid by a third party (the school board), so my use of "targeting children" with my instruction is far less suspect... but these companies are looking to be paid by the child.

That is just it, it's not about improving young minds. It's about making a buck. If someone learned something great, if not, great. Many a college figured this out some time ago and charge for services well before they are rendered. In many instances in my own education the "professor" was nothing more than a test proctor. If I learned at all, it was almost solely due to my own effort. Nothing was really taught. Sign of the times maybe?

Yes and no. I think it's more an admission by the college that some classes are "fluff." It doesn't matter to them whether you truly grasp college algebra, so they'll put a TA in front of the class and call it a day. The folks that need to know it will get it, or they'll get filtered out at the next level. The folks that don't need to know it are just doing their part to help pay the bills, so to speak. (I do not agree with this practice, but I can understand the rationale.)

In other cases, college learning should be far more self-directed. It isn't that the teacher doesn't know the content, or isn't willing to teach it, it's that they sometimes realize it's better for the student to learn how to teach themselves. After all, our job as teachers isn't to create students any more than it's a farmer's job to grow seeds.

But the gaming companies? I won't ascribe such noble goals to them. They get no benefit of the doubt from me. Admittedly, I'm a bit biased toward educators on this one.

I certainly have no cause to not accept what your saying as approximating fact. My only real experience in education is as a flight instructor, a maintenance instructor, a team lead, and a guest instructor of martial arts occasionally I take kids out sailing. As it has been my experience and general practice I typically rely on negative reinforcement rather than positive reinforcement. Perhaps to much? Often I try to let the goal be the goal apparent and avoid micro goals. It's a focus on "pride in the work", rather than ignoring the "work" aspect altogether. As a parent I notice that my approach is considerably different, so in that there are differences. Many of which I am learning as I go.

The relationship of both positive/negative reinforcement and positive/negative punishment is a tricky one. The practices themselves are firmly rooted in a Behaviorist philosophy, which has its merits... but it only goes so far. The behaviorist only asks whether or not the behavior is being performed, but not why. Now, that's an important first step. In many cases, it's more important that the "student" is performing the task than it is that they understand it just yet.

My problem is when people try to use one without the others. It's like trying to build a house with just a hammer or just a screwdriver. There's a trend to believe that any punishment is a bad thing, and that there's somehow no such thing as too much positive reinforcement... which is why we've got far less resilient kids, who can't handle any failures and who seek out no challenges as a result.

To me, positive reinforcement can work if we are constantly extending the reward schedule. Raise the expectation, move the carrot further back. The idea isn't just to get the behavior to continue, it's to teach the student to think long term. Negative reinforcement (the removal of an undesirable effect) can be used to allow students to earn certain conveniences as they go, which can help to tie choices to consequences, so that the student owns their situation rather than always blaming external circumstances.

And positive punishment (the application of an undesirable effect) or negative punishment (the removal of a desired effect or item) are useful for the most basic behaviors. They don't help much with learning new things, but they can do a lot to get certain undesirable behaviors out of the immediate path so that other learning can take place. Punishment isn't a teaching tool, but it is a tool that can be used to facilitate teaching.

That all said, the educator of the young are perhaps the best source of information and experience when designing systems. How much is that actually done though? I have seen a lot of pseudo educators in the "games" field, that have next to no experience actually "teaching".

Very few teachers are consulted on this kind of stuff. The ones that are, however, tend to be the politically-savvy teachers that gladly adopt whatever corporate jargon is being pushed as the "next big thing." Basically, the folks that fund the project already know what they want to make and how much they want to make from it, so they just look for folks willing to read the script.

There's a general belief that teachers know basically nothing. A middle school science teacher knows nothing beyond middle school science -- otherwise, he'd be teaching something harder, right?

It shouldn't surprise you that many of the arguments coming out of "the industry" are heavily leveraged in an ontological status, one of the more modern schools of thought on it is called "OOO", or "Object Oriented Ontology". The biggest criticism... it fails Socratic dialog/process philosophy.

Same old girl, all new wrapper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object-oriented_ontology

In a sense, I liken these philosophical sandboxes to Calvinism -- even if, say, Predestination is true, it's impossible for us to practice a belief in it. It's just an intellectual exercise, but one that doesn't work out any terribly useful "muscles."

The issue to clarify where I was coming from is that his complaint started with an appeal to emotion. So I took his complaint and his opinion as to the target audience and tabled it.

Then I read the article again.

Basically I concluded that the real argument was one of a pitch for a lemonade stand.

One lemonade purveyor offered 1 percent sugar, with sugar pay as you go.

The other lemonade purveyor offered 15 percent sugar, with sugar pay as you go.

They are both lemonade stands. They are both offering sugar sweetened products for no other purpose than to entertain. The structural difference is in where the "price" was gated.

I don't want to be in the position of either critiquing or defending the article itself, but I can say that 1500 words isn't really enough to get into the meat of every topic. As such, this probably wasn't intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive treatment of the subject in any way. I believe this was probably meant as a jumping-off point to do exactly what it has done: stimulate discussion.

By starting that conversation closer to where the "offending party" currently resides, the author increases the likelihood of the "offender" participating in the conversation. That itself legitimizes the idea by establishing that a line needs to be drawn at all... at which point we're then open to debate as to where.

I dont agree with the statement that World of Tanks succeeds in keeping a balanced game with paying and non-paying players. When you load a battle where 4 to 6 players have a 35$ tank, you just know you don't stand a chance. Paying customers do not only get their experience and game currency quicker, they also get to pay to get a clear advantage over other players. I would personnally never pay the price of a retail game just to get a vehicle in a free to play game, but i wasnt able to keep playing a game where i felt doomed at the start in the majority of the battles past tier 5.

Dastardly:
Sorry for the delay -- crazy couple of days!

Not a big deal.

I think there's a certain amount of malice behind these strategies. Not quite mustache-twirling, but close enough for my tastes. They're deliberately going after an age group with minimal faculties for sorting fact from fiction -- taking candy from babies, as it were. As a teacher, I'm paid by a third party (the school board), so my use of "targeting children" with my instruction is far less suspect... but these companies are looking to be paid by the child.

Solid argument here. Although under this categorization there are many products that could be said to fall under this umbrella. Everything from Jiffy peanut butter to Coke products to a stroll in a Target toy section loaded to the rafters with Avengers tie ins. The difficulty I still have with the position, and what you presented is a reasonable one, is that an arbiter had to facilitate a situation in which the child could of been marketed to. Specifically as it relates a cellular phone and service contracts. Now I am certainly not in a position to even make the attempt to talk around the intent. Clearly it strikes me as a method of turning a buck, reasonably making the case to make a buck off of a younger audience.

I simply struggle with the "malice" connotation behind it. My issue is that this stuff is so similar to "shareware" of the days of yore that I simply have a hard time saying that the derivatives, the core methods, are not "in essence" the same as they have been for years.

Maybe I am simply appealing to convention as a justification of what is arguably an unconventional tactic. Heck, I am mildly impressed by the moxie of it. Though I think market saturation of this sort of junk ware will reduce it's overall impact. Most everyone that enjoys digital gaming as a hobby has at some time or another, bought a shit game. Maybe this just gets it out of the way earlier?

"Experience holds a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other."- Benjamin Franklin

In other cases, college learning should be far more self-directed. It isn't that the teacher doesn't know the content, or isn't willing to teach it, it's that they sometimes realize it's better for the student to learn how to teach themselves. After all, our job as teachers isn't to create students any more than it's a farmer's job to grow seeds.

This holds, and I like what you have to say here. I would attest that the differences in industrial applications as it comes to training is that "I" am legally responsible for the performance level of my students for a certain time interval after I have endorsed the required paper for licensure. Although there are sayings such as "license to learn", so on and so forth, again it holds. There are many standards though, and in that the pass fail for demonstration of knowledge is in and around 96-100 percent, or it's a fail. I think that such precision is simply impractical in the realm of a general education. So in that, one either is or isn't interested in a high performance level for the oneself hits me as "self-determinate".

I tend to gravitate towards those types of people. It would be very difficult for me to teach in the primary or secondary school system on that alone. A biased personal temperament that tends to look for the "one's that likely won't make it", and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Sometimes it causes people to try harder. Again, it seems self-determinate.

The relationship of both positive/negative reinforcement and positive/negative punishment is a tricky one. The practices themselves are firmly rooted in a Behaviorist philosophy, which has its merits... but it only goes so far. The behaviorist only asks whether or not the behavior is being performed, but not why. Now, that's an important first step. In many cases, it's more important that the "student" is performing the task than it is that they understand it just yet.

My problem is when people try to use one without the others. It's like trying to build a house with just a hammer or just a screwdriver. There's a trend to believe that any punishment is a bad thing, and that there's somehow no such thing as too much positive reinforcement... which is why we've got far less resilient kids, who can't handle any failures and who seek out no challenges as a result.

It's funny you mention that... when I take new kids out sailing I often will pick out one of the kids that have been out on the boat a couple times... as soon as we clear the docks I pick em up and toss em overboard. This begins an introductory lesson in procedure under fire. I cripple training aircraft as well during flight instruction, same reason. You have a very polite way of saying what I interpreted as a "pussy-fication" of the populace.

Still your right, I have certainly seen with my own two eyes these "less resilient kids". Had a parent come to me after one of these types of shenanigans and tell me that their child was excelling at school and she felt that it was because I was so hard on him in kendo. Like my teachers told me many years ago, all I did was sweep the dead leaves off the path. It's that potential vs. actuality again, he just needed some items "clarified". What he needed was an example in which to emulate.

As with any situation I often ask the question "who is the adult here", "who is setting the boundaries and providing the structure?"... even in Corporations... many times, there isn't one. Peter principle, kick the can, blame game... very common indeed.

To me, positive reinforcement can work if we are constantly extending the reward schedule. Raise the expectation, move the carrot further back. The idea isn't just to get the behavior to continue, it's to teach the student to think long term. Negative reinforcement (the removal of an undesirable effect) can be used to allow students to earn certain conveniences as they go, which can help to tie choices to consequences, so that the student owns their situation rather than always blaming external circumstances.

Not sure this is a sentiment that I am able to sign off on. Sounds a bit like moving the goal post to me. Again, I do not have the experience of working with younger young kids. I tend to stick with consequences being applied consistently, and further pushes beyond the boundaries resulting in escalation. Although I also use a "lilly pad" approach and often deeply criticize setting (what I dean) unrealistic long term goals.

As an example, if someone tells me they want to become an airline pilot. I squelch that noise right off. First we need to accomplish a student pilot endorsement, then a private, then an instrument, then a commercial, then a multi, then a CFI, then an ATP. Now we look at becoming an airline pilot. Each one a goal, each with a clearly defined set of parameters as to what constitutes accomplishment and demonstration of the knowledge. Then again I trend to work more with expectations rather than too many assumptions.

Ultimately the idea is to reestablish the LTG but to have it framed with a plan of attack, cost schedules, time schedules and checklist. As the student builds up a library of reference as to the discipline, we take field trips, maybe a flight deck of an airliner discussing systems, or meet the flight crew. Bridging fantasy to reality, it becomes real, and not a subversive idea, it's something that can be done and emulated. It's process, however, I do believe in the "blacksmith" approach to teaching.

Punishment isn't a teaching tool, but it is a tool that can be used to facilitate teaching.

I like this... I like this a lot. Embarrassing and shame, very effective for getting the point across.

Very few teachers are consulted on this kind of stuff. The ones that are, however, tend to be the politically-savvy teachers that gladly adopt whatever corporate jargon is being pushed as the "next big thing." Basically, the folks that fund the project already know what they want to make and how much they want to make from it, so they just look for folks willing to read the script.

There's a general belief that teachers know basically nothing. A middle school science teacher knows nothing beyond middle school science -- otherwise, he'd be teaching something harder, right?

The first bit is excellence, I mean... why wouldn't you? The second tends to strike me as a justified or semi-justified bias. It's not really true or not really not true. An investigation takes time, so it's just a circumstantial argument.

In a sense, I liken these philosophical sandboxes to Calvinism -- even if, say, Predestination is true, it's impossible for us to practice a belief in it. It's just an intellectual exercise, but one that doesn't work out any terribly useful "muscles."

I just mentioned it as it "tends" to be (from my observation) that the liberal arts focused schools tend towards these types of philosophical slants.

By starting that conversation closer to where the "offending party" currently resides, the author increases the likelihood of the "offender" participating in the conversation. That itself legitimizes the idea by establishing that a line needs to be drawn at all... at which point we're then open to debate as to where.

The thought crossed my mind, so in that it did do spark a conversation. I suppose when contemplating "what should be done" and "what can be done" is the dilemma. I cannot simply state that video games exclusively should be targeted when there are so many products and rubbish con's floating around. The sheer effort it would take to draw these lines would be monumental. It would take hours to simply work through all the available titles, nevertheless play them all and rate them according to any sort of metric or standard.

More "work" would be generated than there is time, money, "resources", to actually complete the work. It's worth a discussion for sure. I got no answer on this one. It seems culturally systemic, in that someone growing up with Jiff later in life, thinks to themselves... did it work? What can I do to make this better? Loosely using the phrase, "it's evolution" of a meme. Why wouldn't they take their own products in these directions?

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