Episode 58 – Zombies vs Mummies

Porter Stowell joins Phaedra and Michael M for a rockin’ good time across a broad set of topics for this week’s show. Phaedra shares her stories from the Serious Play Conference in Seattle earlier this week, highlighting how Ross Smith has created a building with personality to interact with the people who enter and use it. We playfully riff off of the idea that a water fountain may say “glad to be of service” and how other aspects of the building personality may interact with people, and how municipalities could interact with citizens, rewarding them for taking action to help maintain the city.

Porter highlights how crowdsourcing has been incorporated in charity concerts, and the team speculates how technologies such as Foursquare (and Foursquare mayors) might be engaged for validation of the crowdsourced contributions.

The panel then turns to the question of ethics that was started during last week’s show, and reaches a consensus that disclosure is key for organizations using games to achieve a goal beyond that of simple entertainment. If you play a game, and the outcome of that play may be in the furtherance of another goal, the player should know in advance what their play is helping to attain so they may make an informed decision to play or not. Porter, Phaedra and Michael speculate on what it would take to gain informed consent to build the Death Star, and what kind of spin would be needed to do so.

How does Michael spend his vacation? Well, playing games! He shares his experiences with a couple of iOS games — Sid Meier’s Pirates, Plants vs Zombies 2, Motor World, and Simpson’s Tapped Out. We have an intense discussion as to whether mummies are zombies before Porter calms Phaedra and Michael back down. A thread between Motor World and the Simpsons is that both use doughnuts as a scarce currency. It’s all about the doughnuts.


Porter has been playing a game played by 30m people, growing by 60% every year, where you sorting through useless data points in order to win. Porter stumped Phaedra and Michael on this riddle – see if you can identify what game it is before Porter gives it away!

Selected show links

Serious Play Conference, Seattle August 19 – 22, 2013 — http://www.seriousplayconference.com
Ross Smith — http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosss42
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy
Bill Gates, The Road Ahead — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_Ahead_(Bill_Gates_book)
Nolan Bushnell — http://nolanbushnell.com
Gabe Zimmerman — http://www.gamification.co/gabe-zichermann/
Zoran Povović — http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~zoran/
Fold.it — http://fold.it/portal/
Dragonbox — http://dragonboxapp.com
ESP Game — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP_Game
reCaptcha — http://www.google.com/recaptcha
World Community Grid — http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org
SETI@Home — http://setiathome.berkeley.edu
Waze — http://www.waze.com
Ender’s Game — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ender%27s_Game
Sid Meier’s Pirates — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sid-meiers-pirates!/id499794670?mt=8
Plants vs Zombies 2 — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plants-vs.-zombies/id350642635?mt=8
Motor World — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/motor-world-car-factory/id580666714?mt=8
Simpson’s Tapped Out — https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-simpsons-tapped-out/id497595276?mt=8
Techmo Bowl — http://tecmobowl.org

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