Thursday, May 30, 2002

The upcoming International Games Network (or whatever it will be named) is really getting a kick off. Eric Zimmerman, Celia Pearce and lots of others are interested in making this global association come true. Now, games research is really moving forward thanks to Frans Mäyrä, who took the initiative. At the moment it seems there are lots of possibilities and differents points of view. Hopefully, they will all benefit from the range of perspectives through discussions and meetings world wide.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Marc Prensky makes a synthesis between Neil Postman and Seymour Papert telling us that indeed the Games Generation are in fact not able to contemplate and read/write. They need to learn through computer games.

"Today's trainers and trainees are from totally different worlds. The biggest underlying dynamic in training and learning is the rapid and unexpected confrontation of a corps of trainers and teachers raised in a predigital generation and educated in the style of the past with a body of learners raised in the digital world of Sesame Street, MTV, fast movies and 'twitct-speed' videogames. [...] The workers of the Games Generations will no longer accept, attend, or do training that is boring. So we will have to inject fun and games into training, as bussiness, schools, and the military are already beginning, in places, to do. [...] This book is about coming together of two seemingly diametrically opposed worlds: serious learning in schools and in bussiness, and interactive entertainment - computer games, video games, and, to a lesser extent the movies. [...] The forces bringing these two world together [...] are first, technological change and generation discontinuity, causing learners to be different than in the past, and second, the need for training and education to catch up to be efficient and effective"
Prensky: Digital Game-Based Learning

I don't find my generation totally unable to learn with-out computer games as injected fun. For my part, I'm able to contemplate, read and write. Yes, some of us do like computer games. But this is a matter of culture and aesthetics - not of learning and pedagogics. The point is we do not need education as a legitimation of what we are doing. We find that having fun while playing is a legal goal in itself! And yes like many other people we need to learn, that is why we go to schools to get an education.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Lately I have been discussing semiotics in computer games with Steven Poole. It seems his use of semiotics in his book Trigger Happy is both profound and clever. This gave me a chance to re-read some chapters, and I would indeed like to recommend it, because the aesthetics of computer games is far more interesting than the discussion of violence and computer games.

Monday, May 06, 2002

Yesterday, we had an aggressive attack on computer games from the Danish National Television News [DR: Tv-avisen]. The claim was that in fact computer gaming created killers like the German mass murderer who killed 17 people including himself. This was due to overdose of dopamine while playing. Dopamine is a chemical substance, which the body under ceartain circumstances may release in the brain. The dopamine accompanies a feeling of tension and joy.

Huizinga's definition of play is "a voluntary activity or occupation executed within certain fixed limits of time and place, according to rules freely accepted but absolutely binding, having its aim in itself and accompanied by a feeling of tension, joy, and the consciousness that it is different from ordinary life."

Well, neuro science have proved what we already knew. We get a feeling of tension and joy while playing, but that does not make us lunatic killers.

Maybe, we should find other causal reasons for what he did! There was indeed a social reason for, why the German killer did his crime. He had been expelled from High School six months ago, and did not dare to tell his parents. This of course is not visible to a neuro scientist.