CP470 VGT SU14 Week1M2

How many of you have played educational games? Was this your introduction to video gaming? If you were to make a game to teach other students about video game theory what might it look like?

Post comments on the readings here.

18 thoughts on “CP470 VGT SU14 Week1M2

  1. Jaylin Johnson

    After reading these two chapters, I find myself asking several questions while also carrying what feels to me like new insight in to this field. The first chapter dealt with the basic concepts of the game industry and also how it is often viewed by several people within our society and more importantly, how it is viewed from an academic standpoint.

    The eight chapter dealt with a more academic approach by explaining how to do research in the field of gaming itself. This leads me to a my questions and conundrums. The chapter details all that fields that go into gaming and development as well as the research of the topic as a whole. Many people have debates about video games, for example, Are video games art? Well these this chapter left me with the question of if not art then what category do they fall under? Are they art, an interactive social science, a science in and of themselves, or do they fit into a category all their own?

    1. Ashley Cradeur

      Hello Jaylin! As a new gamer I am struggling to figure out the same thing. I have never really played video games before so I am attempting to learn the format of this medium while also critically analyzing it. I am having difficulties because video games are kind of incomparable to most other forms of art and media.

      When starting this class I would have considered video games to be a form of art because of the fictional world one enters when playing a game, the graphics, and the stories that go along with the game, but as I play I am now starting to think of them as more of a social experience because they are so interactive and allow gamers to interact with one another and work together to play. It is hard to look at them as only an art form because each gamer has the potential to create there own outcome that will give them a different experience and feeling each time. When it comes to art I feel there is typically one product or one visual experience that allows for many different interpretations and experiences to be had. With video games someone can play a game as many times as they want and experience something completely different each time because the outcome can be totally different from the time before and from another person’s experience.

  2. Aaron Miller

    I thought this chapter on Gaming Literacy was particularly interesting. I honestly figured that gaming literacy would just be another form of Media Literacy in which being literate meant that you could see the flaws and be critical of the media you consume. While that is a part of being gaming literate, the author says that you have to be literate in systems, play, and game design in order to see the big picture of the gaming world. So, you need to understand how the rules of the game, how the players interpret, follow, or bend the rules, and how the game is designed in order to give the players a certain experience and what the design says about various issues.

    Gaming literacy is very complex and layered, it requires not only knowledge of how to read and interpret the content of the game but also how to read and interpret the actions of the people playing the game. But, as I am thinking about this subject more, any form of media literacy is this way. You not only have to analyze the piece of media itself, but you must also understand the viewer of the media and their reactions to the particular piece you are studying. So, when I think about it this way, I really do not see much of a need to distinguish gaming literacy from media literacy. The terminology may be different, but the concept seems fairly similar to me.

    1. Parrish Colbert

      I agree I think it is interesting about this literacy but eventually it would have to come about because there are a ton of ideas and concepts in the world of gaming. Like the chapter said everyone has different game styles so you have to be mindful of that as well as the genre of video game.

    2. Chelsea Spence

      I agree that the concept is similar to things I have learned in other film classes. In particular, it reminds me of my screenwriting class, when we were told that no matter how perfect you think a script is (and a script is never perfect), you must get feedback from other people to fully realize what your work is saying. You might think you are clearly elaborating a point only to be too vague and for the audience to be confused. So I very much relate to this point.

    3. Ryan Freels

      Yeah, different video game players build upon this. An interesting point was made about this in King of the Hill when Hank Hill plays “Not-Grand Theft Auto”, and makes his character one that helps others saying “It doesn’t have to be about the mayhem”, granted, it does to a point. In games like Fallout: New Vega, they embrace different play styles by giving you a label based on the one you most identify with as you play the game. Granted, even the good characters can get into violence, which I suppose makes it morally ambiguous in such a case.

  3. Natalie Masucci

    The chapters about Gaming Literacy and the academics behind gaming actually answered a lot of questions I had about the gaming industry. I always questioned why game designers did things in games that I thought were pointless ( ie in a non-free game landscape continuously give arrows down the same path) but I did not connect the dots that they were thinking even about hackers breaking into their design scape. I also like the idea that you have to see everything that goes into the game to really understand the game. The part on academics really was not that new to me , though, because I personally want to go into the gaming industry with my cinematography degree and I saw that as a better option for me rather then game design, so I have done prior research on this topic.

  4. Ryan Freels

    I think my first video games were some after school thing, but all I remember is that I played as Mickey Mouse and did not have the slightest idea what I was doing. I aslo had a laptop toy during this age that had little games on it, but again, other than a piano game i remeber nothing. That being said, I did not play that many, but looking back, I feel it would have benefited me a lot, especially in a class I was not good at.

    It was interesting how this connected with my video game diary segment on Game Theory and science. I though it was interesting how many arguments it made as to how video games could better involve students and give them a basic understanding to be built upon. That being said, I would like to repeat using science, history, math, etc. to analyze the environments in games is a another solid way to get their understanding because boosted interest.

    I suppose my rough idea for a film theory video game would be an investigative game in FPS but with a camera instead of a gun, and you would be a undercover journalist. It would take place in a fictitious dystopian society full of propaganda (a Nazi Germany clone). You would have the job to sneak in around and find files n the form of audio recordings explained what the propoganda did, and it would express influence from real world propoganda filmmakers. You would also find the theory files hidden from the public that reflect poorly on the fascist government. Say it would have sexist politics. You would need to find a Laura Mulvey recording that reflects the sexual obectification in their propoganda films. You would then get this information into the public domain.

  5. Jaylin Johnson

    On the topic of gaming literacy, this chapter left one glaring question in my mind. While the two chapters in the other book left me wondering what category do video games fall under, this chapter left me with a different and unusual question. What exactly makes something a video game? Given that the subject itself encompasses many things, why are some things that are used as an interactive medium used primarily for entertainment purposes considered to be a video game while others are often seen as something else?

    Perhaps it is viewed from a technological aspect, video games use controllers and keypads and advanced programs and ect. Well that is where we need to pay closer attention to the world of the games that we play. The ability to notice and critique things in our everyday life, extends further into our fantasy lives or rather video games themselves of course. The same weight we put into analyzing human nature itself, must also be put into the worlds and things that we create. This means that it is important to analyze the gaming world and the people who create and the people that have to respond to it.

  6. Parrish Colbert

    When I was younger me and my sister played educational video games on our old pc so this is not my introduction to gaming. they were more so mystery games where you drag and click or type in the correct number but all involved a story as motive for you to finish the game. I also played a lot of Reader Rabbit as a child which helped me a lot. These chapters have helped illuminate ways of thinking about these games and in the first chapter just gives you a couple things to think about. Games can’t be solidified into a category because they all use different methods of play.

    If i was to create a game that taught about this class it would probably be a realm of limbo that was vast and blank until these threads of ideas decorated the space. You would be able to connect each of these threads back to it’s origin and interactively channel through these thoughts and concepts. There would also be every game and console for everyone to play and tons of sofas.

  7. Chelsea Spence

    I found that this chapter was very interesting. It touched on a lot of things that I have thought about, such as gaming as a tool for learning. When they were trying to teach us typing in school, they didn’t merely shove a keyboard at us and force us to memorize what letters you could touch with what hand. We played computer games to help us. The most basic one I can’t remember, only that it was slightly boring and we all hurried through it, because if you got through the lesson in time, you could play Typer Shark.
    It’s a game where you have a little submarine diver and there are sharks coming towards him with words on their backs. To save your diver, you had to type the words before the sharks made it past a certain point. It helped improve our accuracy and typing speed, along with less having to look at the keyboard when typing.
    We had other games at home too, like certain language games or math games. Something the text says that I wholeheartedly agree with is that kids complain about certain things they are being taught are not relevant in real life situations, unless you’re a math or science teach; I know because I was one of those kids. But if those situations came in game form, we would grasp it much quicker and easier, in a more entertaining way. It’s the process of learning and then attempting, making sure you’re on the right track. It’s much easier to tell who is getting the material when you can see where they get stuck in a game.

  8. Clayton Goodman

    When I was small, I loved playing “Reader Rabbit” and the “Math Blaster”. I used to play them for hours sometimes on difficulties above my grade ability. “Reader Rabbit” used words and letters to solve puzzles and and amend some overall problem that was the whole point of the game. “Math Blaster” followed three aliens as they solved math puzzles to take down baddies and get treasure. These were not my introduction to gaming. I had an NES and a SEGA Genesis before I got these games and I played “The Manhole” by Cyan.
    If I was going to make an educational game about game theory I would make a game that is existential in nature. It would bring different aspects of game theory and force gamers to use one base of theory or another to solve problems. Depending on what the player chooses, the game world is affected to emphasize the difference of the viewpoints. Instead of trying to cover up the fact that the gamer is playing a game it would emphasize this fact.

  9. Jennifer Machura

    The only educational games I have ever really played were computer games in junior high school, Odell Lake and Oregon Trail. Those weren’t really that educational from what I can remember, I think I just always thought they were because we played them in school. My real introduction to video gaming was the classic Pong, that my dad borrowed from a family friend for the weekend and hooked up to our black and white Zenith. The game play was so simple, but we were all hooked. To us, it was amazing!

    I honestly don’t know what sort of game I would make to teach students about video game theory. I’m obviously still not that familiar with video game theory but I could imagine the video game combining actual character play with trivia. A character would solve puzzles and complete tasks in order to solve questions about the aesthetics and sociological aspects of the game, and how it may tie in with the real world and current events.

    In terms of the chapter, I like the ideas behind programs such as the Play To Teach Program. I agree with the authors that programs like these not only help teach book skills like math and English, but also problem-solving skills and may students may learn new ways to think about certain things. Of course, this is much more sophisticated than it was in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. I remember sitting in school and playing Odell Lake or Number Munchers and just concentrating on the task at hand, making my fish eat plankton or multiplying fractions. That just seemed like mindless button-pushing half the time.

    With the technology in game play and digital storytelling, I think that both students and educators can gain a lot more from using video games for enrichment purposes. Like the authors stated, today’s games present many more possibilities in the classroom in terms of not only teaching things, but also discovering a student’s learning patterns, possible learning disabilities, etc.

  10. Stefan Grimsley

    This chapter really brought into perspective the possibilities of game play. While widely accepted as merely a tool of entertainment. This chapter broke down the possibilities of bringing the games into the classroom. By breaking down the different game styles ( biohazard, supercharged, etc) we are able to see how these games can be used to educate the student based on it’s different play modes. I can really see how that comes into play while playing Mario and Donkey Kong. New environments influence of my character’s abilities leading me (the player) to change my plan/ timing to pass through the level leading to skill mastery.

  11. Austin Bennett

    I loved educational games as a kid, even though i didn’t realize some of them were at the time! Anyone remember Putt Putt the talking car or Pajama Sam? Or the Pink Panther? It had a simple narrative that pulled you to different corners of the game world, and there was a multitude of puzzles to be solved as in any computer game. Albeit, it was a simply point and click game, but things had to progress in a natural order. Different characters required specialized items for something else to be triggered, and that in turn set in motion a new storyline, and new items to collect. Extremely simple and probably IMMENSELY easy nowadays, but I felt they were Then there were the JumpStart games for each of the primary grades, and those are the kind of edutainment the book mentioned once in Ch. 1 of VGR. Those were cut and dry educational games, teaching math, problem solving, and fostering memory improvement among other things.

    I bet many of us are watching Game of Thrones at the minute, btw, its so desolate here… but yeah, educational games were probably my intro to video games, or at least at the same time that I got Pokemon Red Version (AWWW YEAH). Maybe Tetris earlier? I’m not sure, but they were definitely a big part of my early years, although not as entertaining as ANYTHING else on the N64.

    This last prompt is a toughy… i like the quote from the author “Games can no more turn kids into scientists and engineers than they can make kids psycho killers;”. I think games as simple as minecraft can foster an interest in engineering as much as playing legos, and video games in general promote exploration immensely. I wouldn’t say I have a particular way to teach video game theory through video games, because the theory itself comes from games. It almost seems like an infinite loop that will keep deriving theory from itself. But if it had to be done I think the best format would be in a self-reflexive narrative the way Inception is self reflexive of the film industry. Bear with me. Cobb is the director, he calls the shots and keeps everyone in Position. Eames, the forger, can become a different character, much like an actor takes on different personas. Ariadne is the set designer/architect, and Saito is the producer, and the means to and end. Its not inherently apparent, but it could show how video games are a result of culture in a way similar to how movies perform “inception” itself on our minds to make us think that we learned something.

  12. Pepperz

    But Aaron, the link between terminology and “the concept” are important, enough that a change in terminology frequently amounts to important changes in the “concept”. I have to insist that the distinction between “media literacy” and “gaming literacy” is an important one to understand and maintain since “gaming literacy” is one kind or subset of “media literary” since video games is just but one medium. Cinema studies, in this sense, is like an older brother to gaming studies.

    To become “literate” involves not just becoming acquainted with the language or rules of a game, art form, or cultural medium (such as driving), but involves most importantly understanding the culture of that game, art form or cultural medium. To become literate in driving doe not merely require being able to turn it on, press the gas, and steer the wheel. Driving requires a nuanced understanding of when to use your turn signal (or directional), to go when Green, slow when Yellow, and stop when Red, and of course, appropriate times to “flip off” trespassing drivers.

    Becoming literate is more than just learning to say words, give their one dimensional definitions, or read them aloud, it is about acquiring the complex social rules within which language is employed.

  13. Garretkay Willis Bonner

    What I thought of the chapter was that it was a pretty complex piece in the sense that this book bring the issue about how much can actually be taught by video games and how long would it necessarily be before video games could be looked at seriously academically. The various games such as Hephaestus are good examples of how to teach complex ideas in games. My introduction to video games was educational was when I was younger I believe it was a game on the computer based off of Schoolhouse Rock from then before moving to consoles my main game experiences were on the computer. If I was to teach a game about game theory I would think that it would be somewhere along the lines of Supercharged in the sense that a concept could be taught that would involve planning and playing, over what exactly may be difficult since theory is still somewhat broad.

  14. Ashley Cradeur

    As a new video gamer/computer gamer I feel that I don’t have a very substantial opinion on the theory of video games/computer games. Right now I am attempting to play games that my peers started gaming with. Thus far I have had some difficulty primarily because I am having trouble operating the game and its controller. I know this may sound ridiculous to many of you but as a brand new user I have come to see that I am completely illiterate when it comes to gaming. After reading the three chapters I couldn’t agree more with the authors of The Video Game Theory Reader. I feel I am struggling to be critical of this form of media because I am not system literate. Much like every other form of media one must understand how to view it or read it in order to understand its meaning or how it is intended to be used. Right now that is exactly what I am struggling with. The Authors of The Video Game Theory Reader explain that in order to see the flaws and critically analyze the games we consume we must understand the rules of the games, how the systems operate, the over all graphic layout of the game and goal of each game. They state that knowing these concepts will allow one to create an experience from the game witch will allow one to produce a critical opinion. At this point I feel I am unable to competently produce a valid opinion on a video/ computer game. I completely agree with their points and feel that I am not in a place were I understand games well enough. It is extremely hard as a new user to play the game and interpret the experience you are having when you are not familiar with the format, much like any other form of media. As I am playing now, I struggle to even comprehend what I am doing because I am too focused on just stay alive (in the gaming world) or trying to beat the level so I can move on to the next.

    What is exciting and different about this form of media that I am starting to really is that it is interactive. Each player can form their own outcome, and see the result of it, which is much different then other forms of media and is something I am looking forward to exploring more. The only games I have ever really had the opportunity to play were computer-learning games. The three that I remember playing most was: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Rollercoaster Tycoon (I would consider to be a learning game) and Madeline (It was based off the book Madeline and that’s what I remember calling it as a child). In these games it was really hard to create your own ending because there was often only a right way or a wrong way. What I have come to notice with some of the games I have been playing is that there are many ways to win or lose witch is different from most other forms of media and really exciting.

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