State of the Podcast

I’ve now done four episodes of the podcast. I’m pretty proud of them. I know what the next two are going to be. The next one will be about decision making (well, one small area within decision making, as that broad topic could have 6-8 episodes at least). Then, the sixth one will be a different type of episode, one I’m currently calling a “game vivisection,” where I take one game and examine it from different angles, both cognitively and otherwise. I think I know which game it will be first.

Six episodes then I think will be, not necessarily a “season” but a set. A set of episodes will then have 3-4 shows where I look specifically at a cognitive concept, relating that one concept to a number of games, 1 or 2 more philosophical podcasts, and then 1 or 2 game vivisections.

And, there are people I don’t even know listening to the podcasts! The Word Press plugin I use gives me some info about number of downloads per episodes, along with how they got the episode (Hello! Overcast listeners; that’s the app I use; and, hi to my one listener from Stitcher!)  I set a pretty modest goal of listeners for the outset, think double digits, and it has been met. Once I get six episodes in the can, I’m going to try to “market” a bit more and I have a new goal for after that.

Thanks to all who have listened so far!

We’re Live!

Okay, the first episode of the podcast is now up on iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher. More than likely, no matter how you listen to podcasts, it probably works with one of those services (but, let me know if it doesn’t). Please subscribe!

The direct links to each of those services can be found here, on the About page.

It’s submitted!

Okay, I figured out ID3 tags and the whole publishing process. I just logged into Apple’s portal for submitting podcasts to their service, and the Cognitive Gamer podcast is now under review (see picture!). Wheeee!!! Oh, and I just got this email:

Dear Podcast Owner

Your podcast feed, [ my feed URL] was successfully added and is now under review.

Sincerely,

The iTunes Store Team

I will let you all know when it goes live and you can acquire it via iTunes’ Podcast app or any other app that subscribes to that service. I may submit it to a couple of other services, but basically about everyone uses iTunes’ feed.

Oh, if you want to listen now, you can just click the Podcasts link in the menu above and get it that way… But, hopefully in the next 2-3 days (Apple’s review process takes a little while) it will appear in podcast feeds everywhere.

The game is afoot!

I have recorded the first podcast! I have the mp3 file that might be what I push out into the world as the first episode. I need to give it another good listen and get some feedback. I have been figuring out ID3 tags and how exactly to register my podcast feed with iTunes’ podcast connect service so that everyone can access it. Perhaps by the end of the week anyone who wants can download the first episode!

I have a draft of the second episode written, so it is almost ready to be recorded. I know what the third one is going to be about, and have ideas for the next couple. My hope is to have 6 episodes up on the RSS feed by the end of the summer (so, August 31, let’s say).

It’s summer!

Hello! It’s been a while since my last update. I made it through finals week, and then my 2-week summer course happened, PSY 225: The Cognition of Game Playing. From my perspective, and I think from my 8 students’ perspectives, it was a success. I had a lot of fun teaching the class, the students enjoyed it, and I believe they learned some cognitive psychology as well. Here is the syllabus, and the revised schedule. Things went pretty much according to plan, except that we didn’t play quite as many games as listed (though at most only one got cut out per day, or we didn’t play through a whole game as planned). We went back and forth between discussing material and playing games. As you can see, I picked games that tied to the topic we just talked about (for the most part), and used that to jump start some good conversations. The textbook was okay (perhaps as good as any textbook, I suppose), and we had some good discussions surrounding Jamie Madigan’s Getting Gamers book.

I would call the course a success. I would change a few things here and there, as I would with most courses. I need to figure out a better way to more tightly couple the game playing with talking about cognitive psychology, and for when I teach this as a regular semester course, I need to think about how to make the course work for 25 students. It worked great with 8.

Of the couple dozen games we played, Secret Hitler was their favorite, somewhat surprisingly. We ended up playing it 3 times in a row on the last day. Other favorites included Carcassonne and Dixit. I also brought in my Playstation VR setup and we enjoyed it for part of one class, talking about various psychological issues relating to virtual reality.

Now that we are through that experience, and the kids have ended their school year (and, we took a couple days off to visit Disney), I will buckle down to my main summer activities: sabbatical stuff with the Glazer Children’s Museum, vacation bible school, a chapter I’ve been asked to write about blogging, and what I’m really looking forward to, creating a podcast! I have the first one about done. Once I get two, maybe three in the can, I’ll get them up on iTunes and figure out how to make a bigger splash on this site.

Game Developers Conference

A month or so ago, the Game Developers Conference happened in San Francisco. In the past, video game developers met there to talk about case studies, tips, and other topics related to game design and creation. This year they invited board game designers as well! I’ve been working my way through the talks they posted on-line. Highly recommended!

Short update

Hi All! I have been working bit by bit on this, but after the flurry of activity that surrounded Spring Break, haven’t posted here in a while. My intent is to do a podcast, and I’m laying the groundwork for that. I’m a bit nervous about talking steady for 20+ min, so I’m going to mostly script the first show and see how that goes. It’s a lot more work, of course, but I won’t have to be as mindful about the “umms” and “uhhhhs” and awkward pauses! I have much of a first show in draft form.

The first episode is going to be about activation in long-term memory and how that plays out in games like Codenames, Taboo, and Scattergories. Not sure what the second episode may be, but will probably switch to a video game topic, like maybe attention and first person shooters. Also in the first handful of shows will be expertise and game-playing (lots of chess stuff there, of course), AI and game-playing, talking about Deep Blue and AlphaGo, something about proactive and retroactive interference while playing games (that happened to me recently when playing this deductive game called Antidote), and then there’s at least 2-3 episodes one could do on the Khaneman and Tverksy stuff. That’s 5 right there, and I can rattle off some more as well (what about the use of narrative in games and the power of story?)

I hope to get a a small number of episodes (well, at least 2; maybe 3) in the can before putting them up on a RSS feed so that iTunes can pick them up. That should happen mid-summer-ish?

This is why I’m doing this!

If you look at my recommendations, one of the websites is Shut Up & Sit Down. This is a great board gaming website, and they have a monthly podcast. The podcast that just went up today has three of the SUSD’ers at the Game Developer Conference. That’s mostly for video games, I believe, but they have some talks about board games. Two of the people had just been to such a talk where the topic was about how players feel loss much more than gains when playing a game. They talked about framing effects, which is a classic cognitive phenomenon, and touch on other psychological concepts as well. Take a listen to the first 30 min of this podcast (#54) to get a sense of what I want to do when I get brave enough to start my podcast.

Actually, it was the podcast from two months ago (#52) that really gave me the impetus to do this. They were talking about, if you are a critic, how important it is to have interests outside of your area of expertise, because that often gives you interesting insight into what you are critiquing. This moved to if you wanted to start a blog about board games, that’s all well and good, but you really need to have additional interests that you can bring to the work. Quinns, and this is the thing that obviously hit me like a bolt of lightning because I was already thinking it as he was saying it, specifically used the example that if you were a psychologist, it would be great to write about how psychology influences game design. He said he would read that in a heart beat, and Paul agreed (that conversation starts around the 49 min mark)