Serious Games – Career Counselor idea

For a long time I’ve had this idea for a Career Counselor series of serious games.  Think of it simply as analgous to the old Encyclopedia or in more modern times, Wikipedia, except just for types of jobs.  There have always been books or data sources that contain large, comprehensive collections of job titles, job descriptions, job categories, etc.  But what I haven’t seen, and I’d love to see, is a freely (or inexpensively) available collection of serious games for most, if not all, kinds of jobs.

Here’s an example.  Say that a high school student (or college student) doesn’t have a clue what they would like to do for a living, or perhaps they know but they aren’t sure what it entails.  While there are many options today, such as Wikipedia, counseling centers at schools, books on the subject, and intern positions at companies, there may also be games that simulate work in desired field.  However, these are not necessarily (and often are not) serious games.  To me, a serious game that teaches a students about a particular job must at least offer them: 1) comprehensive information about the job (or at least links to such information online and in books), 2) a fully interactive experience that includes application for the position, many aspects of the job (both postiive and negative), 3) a standardized (or at least common) method of determining if the student has the skills and/or desire to pursue this kind of work.

Ideally, there would also be a set of development tools which would make it easier for educators, career counselors, and game developers to get together and create this kind of collection of games or perhaps just to build into all work-related video games the “serious” part.  One possibility is some form of combined Wiki + game play website.

I realize I’m talking off the top of my head, but I still think this idea has merit.

Book ratings math

Several major websites sell books and offer ratings and prices.  You can typically sort by relevance, ratings, price, and other factors, but I haven’t seen an ordering by price per rating.

For example, say one textbook sells for $80 and receives an average of 5 stars, but another similar textbook sells for $60 and receives an average of 3 stars.  The more expensive book costs $80/5 = $16 per star, while the other book costs $60/3 = $20 per star.  I still have to decide if the extra $4 per star is worth saving $20 overall, but at least this gives me another tool with which to decide my purchase.  If a preview is offered, I may flip through a few pages and still decide the $60 book is good enough.

Remote Programmers

While there are examples of software engineers working together remotely (in different locations) — such as some video game and a small list of high technology startup companies — why don’t we see large computer-oriented companies taking advantage of their own technologies in order to employ qualified engineers (and other professionals) who may not want to relocate?

Google, Microsoft, Apple and other high technology firms with their R&D staffs concentrated in California and Washington still develop software mainly through a centralized workforce.

Cloud and Web services are the future. Wouldn’t that be a great way to put qualified engineers back to work around the country without requiring them to live in very expensive places or places they may not want to relocated to?

I realize I’m thinking off the top of my head, and this idea may be much more complex than my simplistic comment above.  These companies and others may be prohibiting remote R&D work due to security, tax, sociological, and other business and/or political reasons.  But wouldn’t it be in the interest of the governors of many of the states in America to work with these companies and others to figure out how remote R&D work could create jobs in the future?





Author, Game Designer, Programmer, Tutor, Genealogist