There was a great article put out by a Magic: The Gathering designer named Mark Rosewater yesterday. In the article he lays out some reasons why games designers should design their products with diversity in mind. Basically, the more people that can find themselves somehow reflected in your game, the more people will like your game. From a purely business standpoint, it's ridiculous at this point to design a game that doesn't show a full spectrum of character diversity. Rosewater mentions that Magic now has its first major trans character in the game and what a postive reception that character has had. He also states that Wizards of the Coast ensures that they have an equal representation of the sexes of the characters in their cards. Nicely done! I'm not a Magic player myself, and thus did not know that.
I couldn't be happier than to see the game industry finally coming around to this viewpoint. It's happening just in time for my own children to be entering their teenage years. Thankfully, they won't have to put up with playing games where all the heroes are white males and any women included are portrayed ludicrously rather than heroically.
Gaming is currently undergoing an upheaval in terms of how it is working to expand its customer demographics. People from all walks of life have discovered that games are actually fun to play beyond childhood. In order to keep those people in the gaming community once they enter, gaming products must welcome them in by reflecting back to them those qualities that make them special as people.
Article: Wizards link
Here's an interesting opinion peice written in the New York Times talking about a possible reason for the rise in mental health problems in children. The writer believes it is related to the loss of free play time with children.
Link: New York Times
Here's an article by a teacher about the general uselessness of most homework. It also brings out the important point that homework steals inter-family time that can not be gotten back. Therefore, teachers should ask if the homework they are giving is important enough to take away some more of the little remaining time children have with their family in the evening before bed. One thing that comes to my mind is the issue of whether the homework can be done together with the parents or not. For instance, reading homework can certainly be done as a family. All families should read together, in my opinion. So an assignment to read in the evening should not be taking away from family time. On the other hand, there are those monstrous projects some teachers assign students with strict guidelines that the students' parents are not to help them. Those things are definite family time thieves.
Fascinating way to look at the issue...
Article: The Guardian
Another asteroid just missed us on July 25th it appears. This one was only 1/5th the distance to the moon away. One of these days we're going to have a serious one aimed straight at us. This is why real money needs to be dedicated to protecting the planet from these possible extinction level events. We have the technology to protect ourselves from the majority of asteroids, it's just a matter of building what needs to be built and funding its ongoing maintenance.
Link: Washington Post
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is running an initiative right now to increase the inclusion of underepresented groups within the professional science community. The organization is the United States's main organization supporting science. They publish the journal Science, which is one of the two most prestigious science journals in the world (Nature being the other).
They are running a deal on membership right now through July 31 which gives you a nice t-shirt along with your membership. You get a subscription to the journal for the year along with your membership.
Link: AAAS Membership
Here's an article about how children's time spent playing is shrinking. The information about lowering creativity scores since 1984 is interesting. There's a lot of arm chair philosophizing going on in the article, though. And the suggestion to just let children play all day with no structure and no curriculum seems unwarranted to me. But it's an interesting read nonetheless.
Link: The Play Deficit by Peter Gray
Lisa Stevens, the CEO of Paizo, put out a post on Facebook announcing the arrival of the Pathfinder 2.0 books to their warehouse. In true Paizo style she did it wielding a goblin "dogslicer" and singing a new goblin tune. Goblins are the comedic mascots of the Pathfinder game. They love to sing songs and cause all sorts of mischief. They call all small creatures "dogs" and all large creatures "horses". They are all about collecting junk and building things out of it (which are always a die roll away from falling to pieces in the middle of combat or, in Starfinder, exploding). With the release of Pathfinder 2.0 they have graduated to become a full-fledged playable core race for PC characters in the new core rulebook.
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