Let's start with a quick introduction-my name is Dee and I'm in my last semester of Grad school at Texas State University in San Marcos. I am also a teaching assistant there and whatever time I have left after school/work, I spend online or playing videogames. I am a HUGE Nintendo junkie and have all the old systems. I even figured out how to get my 1st gen gameboy to keep working after its batteries melted inside it years ago. Yes yes, I've got mad skillz. So imagine just how excited I am that I get to attend the SXSW interactive conference on a day where not only is video game technology a hot topic, but Jane McGonigal is a keynote. To read up a bit more on Jane, check out her Wikipedia entry and especially check out this article about the "Pinocchio effect" in gaming (the desire for a game to become reality or for reality to become a game). Also, you can always keep up with her blog here.
Essentially, Jane is a game designer who works with reality/alternate-reality based games. I'm fascinated by this especially right now as we see the emergence of a whole new way of thinking in games being released for the Wii and especially for the Nintendo DS. It's moved way beyond traditional genres and even beyond the new crop of simulators...it's now become about using gaming in every aspect of your life. Want to learn a language? Check. Play an instrument? Check (Sort of). You can do it all on your console or hand held. The way we play and just the very definition of 'play' is evolving, and its a beautiful time to be alive if you're into this sort of thing. I'd love to be able to ask Jane what one escapist game (as she calls them) is her absolute favorite. I think right now that's the only question I can think of because I'm so overwhelmed and excited about all of this.