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ecatanese's picture

Games and Storytelling

I teach 098/099, a reading and composition course at the Community College of Philadelphia, and my students and I have begun to explore the problems and potentials inherent in games. In the last class, many students argued that violence in games and the sedentary lifestyle that games can promote outweighs potential for world change. While some argued that the "optimism" and "surprise" that McGonigal finds in games could help promote problem-solving, many argued that games create more problems than benefits. I'm excited for students to post their evolving thoughts. My early experience with (now somewhat primitive) video games got me interested in storytelling. For example, my favorite video game, THE CASTLE OF ILLUSION, was for me about being able to be with a character as a story unfolded. My motivation for overcoming obstacles was to get to the next level, not for its own sake, but for the narrative that the game would put up on the screen for me to read when I got there. I had a sense that I was a part of what happened next which seems, to me, to be a core aspect of learning that one does have power over world change. The games also helped me to develop visual thinking skills. Still, I was playing mostly nonviolent games and was living in a home environment without physical violence. I am wondering if there is a relationship between the actual reality (daily life) in an early childhood home environment and the virtual reality (electronic games) that might be played in that environment. I'm also interested in whether the tactile quality of board games and sports games create a different result in terms of the psyche of the player. I'm excited to hear the thoughts of others.

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