Serious about serious games: Rep. Vincent Pedone visits Muzzy Lane
On Thursday, April 15th, Massachusetts State Representative Vincent Pedone of Worcester visited the Muzzy Lane offices to learn more about our company’s serious games projects and how they can have a positive impact on the state’s game industry. Rep. Pedone was accompanied by Tim Loew, Director of Academic Planning & Operations at Becker College, and staffer Michael Mobilio.
This past January, Representative Pedone introduced a bill to offer tax incentives to video game companies in Massachusetts, with the goal of nurturing the industry in the state, adding jobs, and encouraging some of the talented graduates emerging from the state’s colleges to remain in Massachusetts. The game industry in the state generates $200 million annually. The representative’s district, Worcester, is home to both Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Becker College, both in Princeton Review's top ten game design schools in the nation http://www.becker.edu/pages/108.asp?item=44816 .
While the game industry as a whole struggled somewhat in 2010, one area that has really begun to hit its stride is the serious games space. Serious games have been increasingly used in industries as varied as defense, health care, emergency management, politics, and education, among others. As more and more publishers migrate from text-based to digital products they are seeking ways to make their content more interactive, and games are a logical choice to accomplish that. And few companies are doing more with serious games and games for learning than Muzzy Lane.
While here at our offices, Representative Pedone and his colleagues were shown several of Muzzy Lane’s serious games projects, including the PRACTICE series of games developed for McGraw-Hill, a foreign language learning game developed for Middlebury Interactive Languages, http://middleburyinteractive.com/products/middworld.php as well as our own Making History games, which have been used in both the commercial and education spaces. Rep. Pedrone was very interested in our process, and wanted to know about any challenges we face as a company in Massachusetts. We were proud to tell him that, although our company is less well known than some of the larger game developers in Massachusetts, we have worked with national, well-known clients, products we develop are being exported internationally, and we have brought federal funding into the state with grants from both DARPA and NIH.
Perhaps what our visitors found especially interesting about Muzzy Lane is our focus on games for learning and games for social change, and how these elements contribute to showing the Massachusetts game industry in a positive light.
Chris Parsons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org