This game is unplayable in its current state

When a game become unplayable in its current state, the frustration felt by players is proportional to their level of investment in it. I’m both a player of games, and a player in the educational sector of my state. It’s surprising how similar these settings have been lately.

Recently I’ve been playing Battlefield 1 on PC, from the Beta release stage through and beyond the official release in mid October 2016. The Beta looked unreal and played well. Well, except for the occasional in game glitches and graphics driver crashes that you’d normally expect from a testing ground environment. I decided to sign up for the early release Deluxe edition and when it turned up, started playing.
I’ve made it to level 24 in the time so far, which is pretty good for a one dimensional player like me. More excitingly, I discussed on my work based Yammer network the possibility of forming a teacher based squad so we could co-op together. So far we have three takers – Darcy Moore, Nick Patsianas and myself. Hopefully we can get it to grow, because the multiplayer aspect of the game is the most interesting from both a gamer and an educational perspective.
Unfortunately for most of us, the game play experience has been disjointed and in some respects ruined by the gap between what we should be experiencing and what the reality of game play is. We were promised so much in the call to arms that is the official trailer

In an effort to rectify community disquiet about fractured game play, graphics cards makers and the game creators issue updates and patches to try and fix things. Patches and driver updates make a small difference for a short time anyway, but the issues seem to recur and for some of us the game is unplayable in it’s current state. It’s left us a bit deflated, and not sure of what we can do to improve the situation.

Co-incidentally I was scanning Twitter last last week and I saw the tag feed from the NSW Education Symposium 2016 . Great word, symposium. Sounds really important. Different to a conference I suppose. There were some heavy hitters tweeting from there – The NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli; our new NSW Secretary of the Department of Education, Mark Scott and other glitterati of the cross sector education scene in NSW. Now, I’m not glitterati, but I consider myself to reasonably well connected to educators online, and I’d never heard of it. I did find out it was invitation only, so I asked the obvious question:

There were a few questions but no-one said yes. Special invite indeed.

I saw some tweets about the call to arms speeches that The Minister and The Secretary gave. Click on their names to have a read.
On reflection, I don’t see much difference between their call to arms and the BF1 official trailer. Each give a vision of what could be, which to date is very different to what the actual state of play represents.
I get that their speeches are meant to set the scene, to provide a framework for the future. But I would contend that these call to arms speeches are given too easily, and the structural mechanic needed to translate the call into actionable change is glitched. The thrust of the symposium was to overcome resistance to change and “make education great” again in NSW through cultural change in all education sectors. Ironically this call for seems to forget that equilibrium is systemically built in to education and appears to be immune to change. Take the HSC for instance – in my “if I were Minister” moments this archaic rite of passage that models out of date learning and assessment is the first thing against the wall in my education revolution. But change in this area seems to mean adding a literacy qualification, not re imagining what the (currently) final two years of senior school could look like. “That’s too hard, there’s too much invested in the current set up, it serves its purpose” would be their argument – interestingly these are the excuses The Minister used to encourage an assault on the resistance to change from some teachers.
Another facet of the symposium were the aspirationally cliched messages that were being tweeted out. I know not being there makes context for these difficult to convey, but I have to say it sounded like just another weekly educational chat that clogs Twitter with feel good back slapping. The rubber hits the road when the participants at #nswedu16 start producing the change that The Minister urges them over the top to achieve. I wasn’t at the symposium, so how will we know when the change reaches me? In fact some the calls for action were initiatives or directions that I’d heard of years ago, but failed to materialise. Most infuriatingly, one person’s identification of an aspirational target (cross sector sharing and professional learning) was the focus of an innovative project that I spent some time on, developing that very focus,costing a considerable amount of money, that was eventually shut down because ironically there was a lack of cross sectoral support for its purpose and thus existence.


What we need is real action that produces change. That won’t happen until our drivers are fixed and the final patch is applied.  I’m not giving up, but this game is unplayable in its current state.


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