8 May 2006

Welcome to the new dollhouse [The New York Times]

Be the first to share

The Sims
As far as we know, children have always played with dolls of one sort or another to act out variations on their own lives, or lives they observe or imagine. Today, a vast and growing number of kids are doing the same thing — but with a very new tool. Instead of dolls, they are using video games. And perhaps most of all, they’re using The Sims.

Some video games let players battle aliens or quarterback a pro football team; The Sims drops the player into an even more fantastic environment: suburban family life. Each Sim, as the characters are known, is different — one might be an old man, one might be a young girl; one is motivated primarily by money, for instance, while another may want popularity — and it’s up to the player to tend to those needs. As in real life, there are no points in The Sims and you can’t “win.” You just try to find happiness as best you can.

And though video game players are often stereotyped as grunged-out, desensitized slackers, it is the nation’s middle-class schoolchildren, particularly girls, who have helped make The Sims one of the world’s premier game franchises, selling more than 60 million copies globally since its introduction in 2000.

Among psychologists and education experts, it is widely accepted that playing with dolls is a safe and perhaps even essential part of self-discovery and growing up for many children, especially girls. Now, some of those experts are catching on to how quickly video games are moving into the territory formerly dominated by a slim blonde named Barbie.

“It’s not that surprising when you look at the game,” said James Paul Gee, an education professor at the University of Wisconsin who directs a program that studies the intersection of learning and gaming among both adults and children. “It’s a great resource for them to design and think about relationships and social spaces.”

Read full story

Be the first to share
27 March 2015
Sharp methodological critiques on current Big Data practices
Two methodological critiques on Big Data that caught our attention: In the Financial Times, economist and journalist Tim Harford points out that sampling bias and statistical errors are, if anything, magnified in Big Data research, …
23 March 2015
Design fiction personas illustrate possible impact of educational tech
People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but most of us get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues …
17 March 2015
Research on being “good with money” in Silicon Valley
FAIR Money, a small research collective consisting of anthropologists and design researchers based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has just published its first report, Good with Money: Getting by in Silicon Valley. The report, …
16 March 2015
EPIC conference calls for papers and tutorials
EPIC, the premier international gathering on the current and future practice of ethnography and design in the business world, will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year. The EPIC 2015 program committee is now calling …
30 October 2014
Graphic novel explains our role in the world of Big Data
Big Data powers the modern world. What do we gain from Big Data? What do we lose? Al Jazeera America examines the role of technology and the implications of sharing personal information in the network’s …
11 October 2014
Reflections on Capital One’s acquisition of Adaptive Path
This week Toronto-based UX strategist Rami Tabbah and I discussed Capital One's acquisition of Adaptive Path. We were both a bit surprised by the lack of real reflection on the pros and cons of this …
10 October 2014
Peter Morville on creating a cultural fit
Interesting reflection by acclaimed information architect Peter Morville: "As a consultant for two decades, I’ve been a tourist in all sorts of cultures. I’ve worked with startups, Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, Ivy League colleges, and Federal …
8 September 2014
11 reasons computers can’t understand or solve our problems without human judgement
It is true that our ability to collect, analyse and interpret data about the world has advanced to an astonishing degree in recent years, writes Rick Robinson, Executive Architect at IBM specialising in emerging technologies …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles