Ellis on playful living: "this is my personal library of what I've learnt so far while I'm still mischievously exploring..."

Ellis, applied game consultancy

Presenting the MGC model to discuss as designtool

17/11/2014 23:31

I had the honour to present the Magic Game Circle as dissect and design model for games at the Van Berlo studio, to discuss it as a possible tool for designing user-product-interaction. It was great to talk with this group of experienced product designers, lot’s of questions, lot’s of thoughts on frustration and designing the users experience. I learned a lot today, and again I realise my vision on play as interaction is not commonly shared easily, the concept of games still holds many tresholds, I wish to say: Life is a game, if you choose to play it ; P


design thinking, evenement, magic circle, pacman

How to manage Mood (and why)

30/10/2014 14:47

A load research is done in applying games as a tool in therapy to cope with depression, but what if we implement happiness as a default in life, at work…. I would like to suggest more play, for more efficacy, more efficiency and more more… ; )

Check also this infographic on happiness at work Read more


Alice, psychologie, spelen

Presenting Coach4life at G4H!

29/10/2014 13:22

Together with Adrea Nijhuis from the Dutch Kidneyfoundation we co-presented the lifestylbehaviorchange app/game at the G4H conference: Coach 4 life… many great reactions from the audience afterwards! (ps counter alreasy over 1000 downloads!)


Alice, english, evenement, game, psychologie, serious, zorg

Why we should play more!

21/10/2014 11:28

I truly think that play is a very autonomous activity since “playing a game is the voluntary effort to overcome necessary obstacles” (bernard suits). The voluntary aspect of play is most important and most overlooked aspect when games are being designed, but the holy grail for motivation lies in the freedom to participate, to engage and re-engage, just as research shows:

The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior, Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan (purchase online)

Studies have begun to look at internalization and treatment motivation. Pelletier et al. (1997) developed an internalization measure for psychotherapy and showed that more autonomous motivations were associated with greater satisfaction, less tension, more positive moods during therapy, and greater intentions to persist in treatment. Ryan, Plant, and O’Malley (1995) found that patients in an alcohol treatment program who reported more autonomous reasons for participating attended more regularly and were more involved in the treatment than were those reporting more controlled reasons. Finally, Zeldman, Ryan, and Fiscella (1999) found that patients in a methadone maintenance program who had more self-determined treatment motivation showed greater adherence, including fewer failures at random urine tests for illicit drug use. Further, perceived autonomy-support from clinic staff was also related to better outcomes.

And to conclude: play elicits autonomy too! Since we learn, progress, reflect…


article, behaviorchange, english, psychologie, R&D

Social&Design conversation DDW14

I participated in the conversation Social & Design in Doornakers, in an innovative care center and talked about implementing technology in care for elderly. I briefly spoke about my experience last 20 months implementing technology at Atlant, most important take away, is not only to make the elderly play, but have the employees and organisation play too to make them recognise the value of play to create better wellbeing.

We had great conversation with residents, designers and other innovative neighbourhood initiatives about safety, trust and voluntary effort. After the event an older participant came to me to shake my hand and thank me for making her think different about play again.

Read more


design thinking, educatief, english, evenement, ouderen

How some games can appear to be so similar yet they are not!

18/10/2014 16:12

While playing these simple games like threes, 2084, I recognise the different layers/levels of play, the dynamics of me learning to find easy and difficult strategies which bring me further inside the game and make me able to accomplish higher scores. The dilemmas I experience in finding a strategy and learning when letting go of a strategy is necessary or needed. When to know when to let go and when to hold on to a strategy, that is the real question. Just as in real life, when to let go of a thought, a method, a behaviour when it seems to be working but appears not to be working when the context or situation changes in time, not easy to let go then…  And then learning that the holding on to or letting go of a strategy becomes a copingstrategy itself… Read more


english, game, Iphone, over gamen, psychologie, spelen

Game design workshop/expo at Sound&Vision museum

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design thinking, educatief, english, evenement, spelen

Workshop Gamedesign

25/09/2014 10:07

I was invited to give a workshop at the Major Game Design and Development at Hanze Hogeschool in Groningen. 16 international students working together in teams to develop serious games for children in Africa, Butterfly works is involved as stakeholder (they developed and implemented a water awarnes game  GetH2o in several countries in Africa). The students used the canvas and developed three game concepts within 10 minutes, worked on the magic game circle and had many great questions about balancing the understanding of the definition of game and/or play. Balancing challenge and accessibility in design.
(half way my presentation a student asked: “is this about the magic circle?” I could not be more happy) I love doing workshops!


educatief, english, evenement, magic circle

Retro game design workshop

22/09/2014 12:13

The Media Instituut ‘Beeld & Geluid’ hosted a Retrogames festival, and we were invited to do a Retro Game Design Workshop to a class of children at the age of 12 years old, including teachers and parents to co-create games.

They team-played pacman with makey-makey, learned about game design, experimented with gamemaker and programming games, created props and characters in clay and lego and did amazing presentations. One team included their teacher as a character in their game, including the class (choas) dynamics problems as a challenge inside their game. The team which made a analog board game combined with a digital game and presented this in a theatrical playful way and were strong winners. But the talent made a huge impression on me (I worry about my future as a game designer ; ) (see more pictures here)

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educatief, english, evenement

Workshop “Dissecting a classic game” at Summerschool UU2014

18/08/2014 13:35

More info on the Summerschool: Gamesandplay

Description of the workshop: “A hands-on workshop with post-its and markers for all participants to participate on how to taste and ‘cook’ a game. In this workshop, we will use a model to dissect an old known game such as Pacman and learn what are (the) game elements and how can we open the perspective and focus on a game experience in the context of play instead of taking the mechanics and dynamics only into account. What can we learn about player types and play preferences using the model and how can we validate a game by focussing on the game elements without deconstructing/destroying the overall gameplay.”

And as promised for the participants the Prezi-slides >>

Plus direct link to Game element table and Pacman dissection experiment #1


(results from the workshop by participants will soon be available here too)

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english, evenement, magic circle, over gamen, pacman