Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege of taking a class called Games & Learning. Participating in the class through a variety of ways, Hypothes.is annotations, Twitter, WordPress and through canvas has allowed me to see a wide variety of thoughts and opinions of the readings and work we have been assigned. What the class has thus far helped me understand is the relationship between the player and their learning experience. What I mean by this is how a player learns a game and how they interact with it on a problem solving level. A game is a different experience to every player who plays it and most of the games out there provide a different experience each time they are played. This creates a difficult to study field of work but one rife with data and general conclusions.
A few of my preconceptions about games have been smashed, for instance the amount of educational funding and work that goes into games I was not aware of. The reading (Jenkins et al 2006) had an extensive review of gaming in education and really opened my eyes to the benefit that games can have. We also read an article which I couldn’t find(argh!) which discussed the main barriers to games in education wherein lack of funding and lack of understanding lead to lower quality games that are rigid and hard to enjoy.
I also find myself analyzing my game playing techniques as well as thinking about why I’m making the decisions that I am while playing. This has lead me to an understanding that games are satisfying to me because they create problems and solving these problems give me joy as well as a challenge.
Throughout the course I’ve used Hypothes.is to ask questions it allows my peers to assist with what their thoughts on it may be. This engagement has allowed for me to see others feedback and use it to better understand the content we are studying. In addition to this I created a Twitter of which I had avoided using up until now. While I certainly don’t enjoy using it I can see the direct benefit it has when used in a class setting or in flagging others of your posts or thoughts regarding an issue.
The question I would ask myself would be, “Why do people choose to play a game?” This question I feel is important because a game in and of itself may not appear to be what it really is. Good games provide challenges and rewards that people can enjoy and learn something from and thoughtful games can make a person feel something they may have not felt out in the real world. People choose to play games because they seek a challange followed by a reward and where those challenges and rewards fall into in terms of what is offered allow for a large market of games. This large market of games allow for people to engage with games as a media and ultimately for each person to find a game they want to play.
My ongoing interests in games is how each individual makes choices in them. Take any game for example that provides the same play through, if two different players interact and play it differently what content did they learn beforehand that lead them to that choice. Games are a lot like life in that people make choices based on “fight or flight” we seek out patterns and attempt to meet challenges based on our previous experiences with other games and with life.