Friday, August 14, 2009

Virtual World for a Neophyte

Video Games

I got recruited by an intern to participate in a study on virtual world. What specifically sold me on the idea is that I would get to play a "video game" - given my last formal training in video game dates around Donkey Kong on a hand-held.

Before the experiment started, I confessed to my lack of gaming context. And, with a knowing glance, the experimenter quickly gave me a tour on how things work in virtual world. For example, to navigate forward, back, left, and right, the keys are, respectively, W, S, A, and D.

At the end of the experiment, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire by hand. Again, with the experimenter's knowing glance I pre-apologize for my chicken scratch's illegibility and suggested that the collection be done via a keyboard next time.

A world of neophytes subjects

Later I found out that these were two of the most common concerns with PARC participants - don't even know the rudimentary controls and type better/faster than hand-write.

But, hey, the game was pretty cool!

PARC and Virtual World

I do not mean to imply that game playing is beneath PARC. As a matter of a fact, there is very active exploration on gaming and virtual worlds at both the technology and social interaction levels.

In the case of this experiment, however, the thing is that these very same people are also running the experiment. In other words, they are stuck with neophytes like me.


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