AlterConf Melbourne 2017: Using the Resiliency learned from Games to Learn Anything by Julie Wotzko

AlterConf Melbourne 2017: Using the Resiliency learned from Games to Learn Anything by Julie Wotzko


(upbeat rock music) – I don’t like to go over time at all. I’m a little nervous, I’m always a little nervous
about going over time, so – We’re taking you off the time. – Oh thank goodness. Okay, I’ll stop the timer. You may regret that. (audience laughs) My name is Julie. I was born Julie Han,
I am now Julie Wotzko. I’m here having gone through part of the visa immigration process. (Julie laughs) That I’ve already spent over
10 thousand dollars on, whoo! But I’m here because of
marriage, so I’m very happy. I am staying in Melbourne. I brought here my 15
years of working in games. Ah, that’s me. I am also learning to be a blacksmith. I am also learning to write in PHP. And I am not scared to learn anything and a lot of that is
because I have learned how to learn because of video games. So, I have contributed to 225 published games and counting. (audience applauds) And thousands and thousands
of toys you can buy pretty much anywhere. And most recently in 2015, I
changed careers completely. I was a project manager in a PM, producer for video games and projects. I run Kickstarters as a hobby. And I decided I wanted to change and I knew that I could do
this because of the fact that I have played
video games, and I know. So, part of my talk is about resiliency. So, what is resiliency? Oh, that’s the wrong way. There. I asked of my friends, what picture describes resiliency? Overwhelmingly they told me, a plant growing in an
inhospitable environment. And, well, that’s kind
of what resiliency is. What resiliency is defined
by in the dictionary it is the power or ability
to return to original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. Or the ability to recover
readily from illness, depression, adversity,
or the like; buoyancy. What part of video games do
you think that is applied to? The ability to fail and
go back to the beginning, and start over and learn
how to take the things you learned along the way and come back and apply them the next time
you go through that level. When I first started, this
is how I paid for games. I played Atari and Pong and yes, this, I had to find this in all of my stuff to
get this picture because that picture didn’t exist on the world. A handful of quarters is how
I was able to play games. There was no Nintendo, there was no Atari. We were really poor. So I had to go and play
games at an arcade. When I failed, it cost another quarter. So games were kind of
expensive and holy crap, we should do that again. Probably not, nobody would pay for it. (audience laughs) But it taught me persistence. It taught me the fact that I could try and get the higher score the next level. And then Nintendo came out. And this dog. If anybody remembers the
first Nintendo came packaged with Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros. I played the crap out of this game, and this dog was my nemesis. But, I was able to finally beat the game. I knew that I could keep going. I could go back to the
beginning and just try again. And, that comes through
in a lot of things. We can fail and then we can start over, because I’m starting over
in a whole new country. And I’m starting over in a whole new job. But I know I have this
inherent knowledge that I can do it because I’ve
done it multiple times. This was one of my favorite games. Netrunner, NetHack and Angband which is really old school. Angband is another example
of a game that if you failed you died and you didn’t get to keep going. But it taught me that when we make our decisions we have to consider them. So, while as Duck Hunt, I failed
and went to the beginning. Angband and NetHack taught
me that my decisions matter. And the decisions I make change
how my game will play out but it may fail, and that was okay. Then I learned how to
play this beautiful game with a red rose on the cover. Now, my parents were anti-D&D, Dungeons and Dragons was of the devil. And so, I played this game. And if anyone doesn’t recognize this, this is Vampire the Masquerade. Story telling became a big piece of it. And I learned that there is
a story inside of each of us. It’s the story of our lives
that other people perceive. But there is a story that
we tell ourselves everyday. There’s this story that, Oh, I can get up and go do these things. I can get out of bed this morning. I’ve suffered from complex PTSD because of child abuse. I have also been affected
by domestic violence from my first husband. And I have made it through that. And part of that is
because I recognize that the story that I was telling myself may have had flaws. And I needed to go back and reset my level and start anew. And retell my story to myself first, so that my story made sense to me then I can go and change the world or my experience or my arrangements. So one of the things about
changing your world is knowing what the world map is. Knowing what you can transform. So, this was the best part of this game. I always knew, hey if I go this
way I can get to level five, if I go this way I could get
past that and just skip it but I might miss something along the way. So, understanding that there is a world map, and
look for it in your life. Look for mentors or people who
can show you the world map. People who have gone there before and reach out to them. It’s dangerous to go alone, realize that there are people out here that want to help you along the way. And that they are, they may not always be older and wiser. They may be younger and wiser. So, don’t discriminate on that. Now, sometimes you can’t take
out things by yourself, and that’s okay. I learned that a lot by
playing World of Warcraft. That, my guild was very important because without my guild I couldn’t take on the big boss monsters. And, you have to find
that guild of people that you can have no Leeroy
Jenkins amongst them. (audience laughs) But, that you know that we can each support each other and beat the, one of the hardest boss monsters
I’ve ever, I don’t know. I’m not that great at that game. (audience laughs) But test and, I always concept in my brain,
in my personal story that tests or deadlines or challenges that I know that are coming are like a boss monster. So I, once I’ve reframed my
internal story to that, it becomes a lot easier. I know how to get past a boss monster. I know the things I need. I needs my friends, I need to prepare. So, that becomes that boss monster. And then sometimes it doesn’t work. But again, we’re going back to that beginning of the next level. Let’s go to the next round and we’ll learn from
it and we’ll continue. Every time that we may fail, we take a moment, regroup, and then you can put another quarter in at least I did, a lot. And try and get past the next, the next opponent. Apparently I’m doing great
on time because I’m nervous. (audience laughs) So the next thing is something
that really stuck with me. If you don’t know who Steven is, I highly recommend following
him on Facebook and Twitter. He is one of the amazing people
that I’ve met along the way. And he posted this when
I was working on my talk and I’m like, can I please
post this on my talk? Because, this is, one of the most important things about your internal story is that the best thing you can do for yourself is give yourself permission to fail. Once you do that, you have
given yourself freedom. Because, that fear of failure is what keeps a lot of us back. And doing the biggest and most
amazing things in our lives is a lot easier when we’re
not scared about failing. So, chase your dreams. And that’s all I have. (audience applauds) – [Audience Member] So
I’m not into gaming at all but today’s been inspiring. If I had to play one
game, what would it be? (audience laughs) Sorry. – Okay, so my background is in
boardgames, and video games, and card games, and role playing games (audience laughs) and, oh goodness. You’re stumping me. – Can we talk after? – Yeah, I will happily talk, because really it’s about
a personal connection. So figuring out what types
of things you enjoy doing will inherently explain
to me what good games to recommend would be. So, that’s why that’s a
hard question to answer just from a baseline of not knowing much. – Can we have another massive
round of applause for Julie. (audience applauds) (logo chimes)

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