We learn about learning, as we discuss game literacy, broken games and the world of theatre

Built to Play learns about learning in our 50th episode. We don't know how we did it, except through willful ignorance of the heavenly signs and our friends and family. At this rate, Built to Play will never die, although we offer no guarantees. 

People often forget about game literacy, like this article did in the previous paragraph. Once you know how to read or write, the expectation is that's the norm. How quickly we forget that near 100 per cent literacy is a recent phenomenon, and only then became fundamental part of our societies. When we run into people who are lacking these skills it can be shocking, and the first arrogant impulse is to blame it on their own lack of interest. It's equally surprising when we see someone who's never used an Xbox controller, or is intimidated by the sheer number of keys on a keyboard. Even between cultures, there's been some confusion. Just as the Japanese read right to left, for them bottom-most face button means cancel, while in North America it means accept. While not entirely detrimental, it's worth noting that even experienced players run into the limits of their literacy, if only to justify why some of us had such a hard time playing Japanese RPGs.

As games and technology become a bigger part of how we express ourselves, it's important to remember that not everyone grew up with a Super Nintendo, and the annual blockbusters, which focus on action and destruction, aren't universally appealing to all people. Some people aren't literate in games not because games aren't suited to them or because they aren't interested in them, but because games can be scary. They're active experiences, and so they need some level of introduction. Without that, games are just graphics on a screen and a gamepad filled with 10 plus buttons which could feasibly do anything. 

So this time, we're talking about game literacy with Sagan Yee and her Game Curious program, before discussing ways games can approach more people through performance. Then Jon Remedios tells us about his learning process in designing his own game. Here are our show notes:

  • Sagan Yee tells us about the Game Curious program she ran in the Toronto Reference Library, plans for the future, and why games are stigmatised. Special thanks to Al Donato, Cheryl Clarke, Amelia Nelson, and Amala Johnson. This segment starts 0:40 into the show. 
  • Then in the news, we discuss the end of the G4 television channel, the hacking of the 3DS, and why Assassin's Creed Unity, Halo Master Chief Collection, and DriveClub are so glitched out messes. The news kicks in at 12:50. 
  • Deirdre "Squinky" Kiai tells us about Coffee: A Misunderstanding, which merges the mediums of game and performance closer than ever before. Hear Squinky explain who's the player when humans are both the instigators and the avatars around 34:00.
  • Jon Remedios explains the progress he's made on his local multiplayer party game, the Shoot Shoot Mega Pack, and how he's changed his process over the last four months. We talked to him back at Gamercamp in October, and before that in May at the Bit Bazaar. Hear Jon discuss his work-life balance and the future of local multiplayer at 42:55.

 Game Curious on October 18

Game Curious continues every Saturday at the Toronto Reference Library until December 2. 


Thanks to the Free Music Archive for the following music. Our Opening theme was "Computer" By State Shirt. We also used "The Falls" By Podington Bear, "La ere Gymnopedie" by Peter Johnson, "Big Head" by Orthotonics, "El Rio Dels Ptals" By Violeta Pivnkakkara, "Praise Book" by Bleak House and "The Telepathics of Bomb Shelter" by Fields of Ohio.

BUILT TO PLAY IS A PRODUCT OF THE SCOPE AT RYERSON RADIO STATION IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN TORONTO. IT WAS PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ARMAN AGHBALI AND WRITTEN BY DANIEL ROSEN.

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