Monday, June 20, 2011

Is The Games For Change Festival Important To Intelligence Professionals? (

I hope to answer this question over the next day or two.  I made the decision to go to the Games For Change Festival primarily to see what it was all about.  This idea of "serious games" is gaining lots of traction in a variety of different fields -- almost none of which have anything to do with intelligence.

When people think about serious games, they usually think about improving education or health care or changing the world in other positive ways.  There is nothing wrong with that, of course, and nothing wholly inconsistent with this view and the discipline of intelligence, but I recently witnessed a pretty heated debate over whether games that explain the basics of macroeconomics "belong".  Not sure how anyone will react to the idea of serious games for intelligence professionals...

That said, the intelligence community has been exploring the educational value of games for quite some time (with mixed results, I hear).  The recent Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) Sirius request for proposals is clear evidence that the US national security intelligence community intends to continue to explore how games can meet the IC's needs.

Of course, my own (personal and research) interests lie along these lines so going to this summit makes sense.  I just wish it didn't conflict with another excellent conference, the Game Education Summit, which, this year, is on the west coast.  GES is an excellent small conference with a unique opportunity to mingle with academics, designers, artists, developers -- all aspects of the game design and game education fields. 

I will probably be posting at least some updates to my twitter account (@kwheaton) during the conference and will post a wrap-up article when I get back later this week.