Writing about web page http://www.womeningames.comLast few days before one of two conferences I am co-organising thisyear. Wondering what are the usual but unforeseen problems we should beprepared for…Update:Well, nothing really went very wrong, thankfully. A bit of headacheworrying about the roadworks which were not completed in time, butpeople seem t have managed.The main complaint of attendees was the cold in the residence halls –after all, we are in England, so we can’t turn on the heat before it isthe proper time of year to do this, whatever these soft foreign visitorssay.The conference was extremely interesting and most people seem to haveenjoyed it. The surprising (to me) starting point was that a lot ofwomen do play computer or console games — even though the perception isthat it is mostly a male activity. It seems that a lot of it is lightgames, such as solitaire or puzzles, which can be easily interrupted andrestarted. However, Paulina Bozek gave an excellent talk about Singstar,which seems to go beyond all the usual age/sex barriers at it reachespeople through one of those basic instincts we all seem to have: singingalong!There was emphasis on the use of “Serious Games” or games for educationand training–building on the VR platforms such as Second Life. I/still/ haven’t had a chance to play with SL, maybe I can move directlyto one of its alternatives such as Forterra’s Olive platform or Sun’sWonderland.There was much enthisiasm for MIT’s Scratch project – a tool forteaching programming using icons and shapes which are put together tocreate animations and, from that, to simple and original games….Which brings me to some aspects which got me thinking: Yes, ofcourse, games are more than animation and graphics. What can be thecontribution we can have to encourage and teach game design? How can weincorporate notions of narrative and strategy in order to make teachingconcepts of computing more interesting and reach out to people who arebored with the idea of programming?