How deep are video games?

How deep are video games? « Computing Education Blog.

Interesting post by Mark Guzdial and comments discussing some of the hype about how video games are “the new liberal arts.”

Games are “the new liberal arts”?  Games as the “folk music of the 1960s”?  My experience with games don’t go that deep.  I find if I think about them too hard, there’s nothing there but the assumptions and world-view of the game author.  A great example of the bottom not being too deep is the SimCity game player who famously told Sherry Turkle in The Second Self, “If you raise taxes, people riot.” Can games really be as deep as great literature, or great music?  I suppose it’s possible, but I haven’t seen it yet.


4 Replies to “How deep are video games?”

  1. Hi Sylvia – I’m not a gamer myself, so I couldn’t really speak to your points, but a few of us are reading James Gee’s book “What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.” His major point is not necessarily the content of the games (he focuses to a great deal on first person shooting games) but the principles of learning embedded in the design of the games – high interest, learn by experience, provide just enough information to help the gamer move on and discover more about the game, etc. Principles we know work in education (but are not used enough!)

  2. Jeff,
    This is an excellent point, and Gee’s book is a good one to study. He points out that the attributes that make games great learning experiences can be found in great classrooms as well. It’s not that you always need a game to create those experiences. Attributes like agency, identity, and more are the important things, not the game.

  3. I agree, I dont think games go that deep but I do feel like I should run my class like a video game. Giving students more freedom, multiple chances to fail then reflect and succeed, and instant feedback. Video games are exciting and challenging and I feel like that is the way classrooms need to be run. Student leadership = student success.

  4. Jeff,
    I agree with you. What are the challenges that you encounter when running your class like a video game? What are the aspects of video games that guide you to run your class. You have mentioned “chances to fail,” “instant feedback,” and “student leadership.” What are the other salient principles you have experimented?

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