Friday, March 30, 2007

Gaming as a Social Activity

My son spends hours in front of a glowing computer screen frantically pushing keys and all engrossed in a virtual world. It upsets me. I feel that my son isolates himself from the rest of the world, while he is convinced that the networking video games are broadening his horizon by giving him opportunity to meet hundreds of different people online.

Games were always popular in many cultures around the world. Games are entertaining and unleashing creativity. Players become actors by changing their personality, gender, place and time of action. A game is the opportunity to experience a powerful desire to win and conquer. In everyday life, the game provides adventure and fulfillment of many hidden desires. However, can playing a computer game be considered a positive social activity?
Tournaments are already more interactive than almost any other library program; finding ways to further involve the players and make them feel a part of the action greatly increases the positive social impact for attendees and the
library alike.
The authors refer to statistical data from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) report "2006 Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry:"

Only 15 percent of the games sold in 2005 were rated “M” for “Mature” (for ages seventeen and older), despite receiving extensive coverage from major media outlets.
In my opinion, too many games that are sold for general public still contain too much violence, blood, fight, senseless and crude dialogs.

According to the Entertainment Software Association, among best-selling video games Children & Family Entertainment games were sold only 9.3% in 2005. I was pleasantly surprised that Family & Children’s computer games sold in 2005 have a significantly higher percentage –19,8%. However, I was disappointed that the ESA didn't mention any serious games or educational simulations.

89% of the time parents are present at the time games are purchased or rented.
61% of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives.
87% of the time children receive their parents’ permission before purchasing or renting a game.35% of American parents say they play computer and video games.
Among gamer parents, 80% report that they play video games with their children, and 66% feel that playing games has brought their families closer together.

It was time when families were gathered around a fireplace to read books, recite poetry, sing or listen to music. Now, we are mesmerized by TV screens and meet our family members, relatives, and friends in a virtual world. Whether we like it or not, today the Internet is a place where our students interact, learn, communicate, and express themselves.

By offering teens opportunities to learn about creating music videos and movies, image editing, computer graphics and drawing, and writing and storytelling, we are speaking their language and creating a culture in which they love to interact.

Watch my Flash movie at TeacherTube. A music loop is freeware.

1 comment:

Alfred Thompson said...

A lot of kids are using the Internet to keep in touch with their peers. They do this via IM, email (more IM than email) and social networks like Facebook at mySpaces. I know a lot of older kids (college graduates) who play games online with friends and co-workers. very often they play these games with long time friends in other parts of the country or even the world. It's a new thing. I'm not sure it is bad. It is different though.
I really agree about the need for more use of teaching/educational games. Right now industry and the military are leading the way here as they try to train the young multi-media generation. But there is a lot more we can do. Part of the problem is that there is not enough money in it yet but a bigger problem is a lack of educators who are tech savvy enough to start making things happen outside the traditional game companies.