What we can learn from BAFTA best game winner

Last night the BAFTA Games Awards took place and showcased some of the best in the UK in terms of game design, audio, visual, narrative, music and innovation. The games industry is continuing to grow and one of the reasons spin-offs such as gamification are also growing and finding their way into the workplace.

Last year, 32.4 million people played games in the UK, spending $4.2bn, which made the UK the 5th largest games market in the UK (data from Newzoo). The Scottish built game Grand Theft Auto grossed over $6bn since it’s launch in 2013, which is more than the highest grossing movie Avatar.

The 2018 BAFTA winner of the best game is “What remains of Edith Finch” developed by Giant Sparrow/Annapurna Interactive. It is a mystery adventure game, played in the first person exploring the life of a family that used to live in a big house in the woods. Here is the trailer:

The last remaining family member of the Finch family is coming back to the old house to discover more about her family members. The storytelling really draws you in, so many mysteries are raised at every step, enticing you to continue exploring. A key opens the door to secret passages and all of a sudden you find yourself exploring the game as an animal instead of a human. It gives a multi-perspective approach to one story.

When I look at the stories in games like this, with the variety of angles and characters, e-learning development has a lot to learn yet. If you look at a development team for a game of this nature, it will include game designers, narrative designers, asset creators, level creators, music writers, developers, etc. and you compare it with the size of a typicaly elearning team which if you are lucky is two people a learning designer and a learning developer and here and there you may also have the assistance of graphics and voice-over people. But if we really want to make learning as intriguing as games with great stories, there is a need to think different about the size of the teams working on them.

A lot of elearning is written in the third person and someone is telling you what to do next. In the ‘what remains of Edith Finch’ game, you explore as the first person. Little lights that change into hands, indicate that you can open something. A pathway in the forrest guides you to the house, in the house you can choose your way of exploring. The graphics are there to guide you along and also create a distinctive mood for the story. The fact that sometimes you see the world through the eyes of a human, but other times you may be a cat or an owl or… Either way the perspective is interesting, surprising and different.

In my work in gamification for learning, I really push people to level up their thinking and working styles around learning design. I have to say, it is not easy to find learning designers that can flex into full out story writing and at times I have wondered if I hired a narrative designer instead or even a movie script writer, would I just get a better learning story. (if you are a narrative designer willing to test your skills on learning plots, do get in touch)

I love using games as inspiration and this type of game, definitely gives great food for thought. Well done to all the winners at the Bafta game awards. I look forward to exploring the titles I haven’t yet played.

How feedback is teaching me

I have been using the Grammarly extension for a while now on my computer and especially for writing this blog. Call me nerdy or what, but I love receiving my weekly writing insights. It helps me for one to feel good about writing regularly and secondly, it also points out my most common errors, such as punctuation for example.

Here is a selection of this weeks feedback:

It starts with: Your vocabulary was quite voluminous last week. You used more unique words than 94% of Grammarly users.

  • 14 week Grammarly writing streak
  • You were more productive than
    89% of Grammarly users.
  • You were more accurate than
    37% of Grammarly users.
  • You used more unique words than
    94% of Grammarly users.

Here is what I find the actionable feedback:

1. Unnecessary comma in complex 42 alerts
2. Incorrect use of a comma 38 alerts
3. Missing comma after introductory 36 alerts

(would you believe it corrected its own lack of use of an article – too funny!)

I will say that the feedback is presented in a fun and constructive way. For me, it works to pay more attention and when I write without Grammarly in the background checking up on me I am more aware of the things to watch out for. This is the kind of report that can make a person improve. When you use the extension in your browser and on your computer, it gives you in the moment feedback, which allows you to change and correct your words directly. What I notice though is that the instant correction isn’t always teaching me, whereas the reflection on the feedback presented above actually is more useful.

The majority of my statistics are positive and then the actionable feedback is also listed in my personal top 3. In most learning-related applications we receive very little if any feedback. I welcome, these emails and look forward to learning. My guess is, that if the feedback is presented well, most of us would make more changes.

I also unlocked a whole set of achievements and I am on my way to the next one in two weeks …




I would love to know if you use this application, whether you are improving based on feedback or whether it largely stays the same for you? How do you like your feedback?