getting college credit by playing video games

In college there were a few classes that I enjoyed taking, like various music performance classes, and athletic classes like tennis and bowling.   But there was never anything related to playing video games.  (Well, I did get to take one about programming for games.)

The University of Houston is now offering a class on Wii Performance.   The games used in the course will be Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Dance Dance Revolution.   Their program coordinator said:

Our department conducts a host of research into the epidemic of obesity, not only its root causes, but ways to combat it and the diseases related to it. Using the Wii games can be both fun and an effective tool. We anticipate that many students will want to take this class.

I think their anticipation is right-on.   Of course many students will want to take that class!  If I could get college credit for playing video games, I know I would’ve!

video games used for team-building at work

Do you ever get stressed at work?  Or have you ever dreamed of getting paid to play video games?   Many people would answer yes to both questions, and now some companies play multiplayer video games at work to bond with each other and to reduce stress — and they get paid for it!

Kevin Grinnell at Grinnell Computers has started such a plan, and it’s a hit.  He considers it a team-building exercise, saying:

“We laugh until we cry when we play these games. We can do the thing where we have company dinners, and company functions, but those really aren’t stress relief. At times, they can be more stress than they’re worth.”

That last part is certainly true sometimes.  I’ve been to work dinners and outings where you had to pay your way (and didn’t really want to go), or where some coworkers will get drunk and act stupid, or where the company tries to manufacture fun and it doesn’t work and you’d rather be at work than at the “fun” outing.

You don't get to do stunts like this in real life...
You don't get to do stunts like this in real life...

Not only is that a great way to release stress, but it also causes people to let their guard down, to be themselves.  For Grinnell, the gaming is optional, but the option is to either play video games from 3 to 5 pm on Friday with the team, or take the same two hours off unpaid.  I think that’s a great style of motivation.   You can leave early, which sounds good, or you can play games and get paid for it, which sounds even better!

If you aren’t familiar with multiplayer video games, they are as the name suggests — multiple players in the same game.  Often people are on teams in these games, where they work together.  There’s also the added benefit of cost — there’s an initial setup cost to get the game, but then there’s no more business expense for it.  In a way, it’s like going out to play golf or going to a restaurant with your colleagues, except that there’s no cost, and it’s even more fun.

guess what's about to happen here
What could've happened here?

Here’s the link to the news article about it: Shooting the boss (and getting paid for it).  (Props to Turtle Dundee for the link.)

Personally, I think this is a great idea!  And as the owner of my own business, I am immediately implementing this team-building exercise at my company.  (And before you ask, no, I’m not hiring at this time.  Sorry.)  Hopefully many other companies will realize the value in this and start such programs.  It seems like a win-win program for everyone.

parody videos of old-school games

Today I’m going to link to a few gaming-related videos.  Even if you’re not currently into gaming, these reference mostly “old-school” games like Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong, so almost everyone can relate to these.

What would it be like if someone combined two of the best games ever?  I’m talking about Super Mario Bros. and Doom.  Somebody made a Doom mod and then added some effects to merge it with Mario.  Check out the video : click here.

Here’s a video of a commercial for the first Super Smash Bros. game on the Nintendo 64.  It features live-action people in costume beating the crap out of each other.  It was a great introduction to the first game in this series.

Here’s an example of somebody with a love for gaming and too much time.  🙂  Check out Lego Donkey Kong and Lego Super Mario Bros.

even a cat can play iPad games

Apple recently released their much-hyped iPad device.   It’s supposed to be all high-tech, but as this video shows, even a cat can play iPad games.

I hope they have a scratch-resistant screen on there!

There’s a follow-up video of a dog experimenting with the same game, but it’s boring because all he does is tilt his head a lot and smell of it.   He was too afraid to play it.

Yeah, I realize there’s not much to this post — it’s mostly LOLCAT type humor.  If you’re wanting a serious review of the iPad, this is the wrong place, because it’s just a humor blog (which you should check out if you like to laugh).   But I did give my opinion on the iPad on my other blog, if you want to read that.