Last night, I had the privilege of attending a preview dinner for the upcoming GamesBeat conference. I connected with old friends and longtime colleagues, and chatted with some fascinating entrepreneurs and investors. Great crowd -- it's shaping up to be a stimulating conference!
Bing Gordon spoke about his experiences with games and education, and where he thinks that field is going.
That's certainly been the case in our household. Gabe learned his first words through books and signs (we label EVERYTHING in our house) but he learned his first sentences (in the form of song lyrics) playing Karaoke Revolution at age 4. It struck me then: "This game is seemlessly, immersively teaching my son to read. It's educational!"
That's why we're doing Shufflebrain: to make games that are "a force for good." Our games are designed to be a healthy, creative, brain-stimulaing part of daily life. We're fired-up about our mission, and excited to bring this style of gaming to a wider audience.
I've been thinking about the" lessons learned" in this terrific article on entrepreneurship that I found via Venture Hacks. I especially enjoy this passage, which is the startup lesson I'm right smack in the middle of:
It took a major whack on the head for me to get my priorities straight. For my first eight years as an entrepreneur, I always put my business goals first. As a result, I missed my first daughter's childhood. I spent too little time with my wife and friends. I didn't do any of the reading or traveling or gardening that I enjoy. My life was one full-bore, supercharged, nonstop, 24/7 rush to create a high-growth business. You know how that turned out.
Fortunately, my descent into Chapter 11 came early enough in my life for me to learn the appropriate lessons and make a fresh start. The most important lesson was this: Building a successful business is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end. It is a way to create a better life for you and those whom you love, however you -- and they -- may define it. You need to do the life plan first and then keep revisiting it, to make sure it's up to date and your business plan is helping you achieve it. That habit, I can assure you, will prove to be the most important of them all.
Inspiring Post on Venture Hacks about creativity, constraints and user need. It echos our goals at Shufflebrain. Lean, efficient, innovative, quick-to-learn, addressing a real market need.
Reduced spending will spur businesses to create products that even newly poor customers will buy. Products that customers truly need and value. Products with enduring value....
....Constraints spur creativity. Bad economies demand it. Innovation is easier when the alternative is death.
We're been hard at work making Photograb easier and more fun to play. Our latest improvements include:
* improved Album loading and better handling for large albums
* Friends-only Privacy setting for games (great for personal photos)
* layer award (with levels) to track and reward #games you've played
* a custom Skin and link for our Daily Puzzles
* improved notifications and feed stories to let you know how you're doing
Play Photograb now to experience these changes for yourself!
Scott Kim - lead game designer at ShuffleBrain - will be speaking at the Entertainment Gathering, held in Montery, CA on Dec. 11-13 2008. Here's the abstract of his talk.
In this talk, I chronicle my evolution as a puzzle inventor. from my magazine columns and toys to my newest computer game Photograb, which turns your digital photos into games to share with friends and family. I'll give you an overview of my design process, show you how you can invent your own puzzles, and talk about the rise of family games in electronic gaming.