Gaming is not just about revenue, addiction, gamers, and so on. A game being an expression of technology, developing cultural norms, and a world wide phenomenon that transcends all boundaries, becomes a source of study.
Games are not mere toys, they promote:
- Information literacy. Players download text files, make notes, they also take “screen shots” of the game and upload it with their comments. A group then examines the suggestions and discussions emerge on strategies as well as required improvements or changes. Knowledge creation and rapid sharing is common to digital spaces. People of all ages and ethnicities from around the world pool their understanding and resources to solve problems.
- Curiosity and a thirst to find out more. Leading to the development of learning. Players pool thoughts and resources and try and work out how different elements function. Individual skills are sharpened using pooled resources.
- Development of well developed research skills and the use of a huge mind boggling variety of resources. For games like “Lineage” a player would need to become a member of a 100 or more strong clan and in order to protect his castle or carry out sieges he or she needs to manipulate text, images, research equipment use, draw out maps, manage resources, design strategies, create and maintain treasuries, write down facts, theories, and proposals, as well as design workable models.
- Social interaction and exchange of ideas and thoughts especially in multiplayer online games.
- An understanding of world history. A few games are based on civilizations and take players as far back as 4000 BCE leading them through different developmental stages of the world with the creation of cities, temples, libraries, granaries, railroads and more. Many games are map based and re-enact actual events that have taken place in the world.
- The setting up of virtual learning to explore new game related technologies, new gaming elements, and modes of play with peers. In fact, “Civilization” aficionados created “Give peace a Chance” in which players learn about wining by using non violence.
- Interpretation of data and lateral thinking. Players spend long hours absorbed in researching information, searching high and low for tips, cheats, and tricks, developing what are known as walkthroughs.
- Curiosity and sets the wheels of the mind clicking leading to innovations in design, software programming, graphics, strategies, and more.
- Team work, a sharing of ideas, as well as collective problem solving.
- Competitiveness a thirst to succeed and win.
In depth research has proven that gaming plays a role in increasing self esteem, and is motivational in many ways. Children who play games perform better at comprehension, spelling, and math.
Gee, Squire, and Stienkuehler, University of Wisconsin-Madison professors, are studying learning through game playing and the advantages of gaming over traditional teaching tools truly believe that gaming has woven within its matrix important learning technologies. Learning in the e-learning world of virtual gaming is hands on, interactive, has no restrictions or boundaries, promotes collaborative working, problem solving, creating a new generation of leaders.