Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Economist on Games

I found an interesting story by the "high brow" press (The Economist) that actually has a very even handed look at gaming and it's impact in society. It even mention's gaming in education and Prensky's "digital natives". One of the points it makes is that there is a divide between the generations who "get games" and those don't. That line is sitting at about the 30 something age. Prensky refers to the people younger than 30 as "digital natives" and argues that these people, having grown up with technology, look at it in a different manner than the "immigrants" who have had to learn it. This is of course a generalization, but it seems to work for creating pigeon holes. Prensky also notes that the term "game" may be a misnomer as it means different things to those who are not digital natives, noting that it is quite likely that people older than 30 (most of the people crying foul over the "evil befouling powers" of gaming) have never played some of these more complex games (that take 30-40h). The article goes on to note that gaming is just another in a long line of media that is used to train and entertain. It also looks at the effect that game violence may be having on society, showing that violent crimes have dropped as game sales have increased - a great stat for those who want to believe! But really, I really think that one has very little to do with the other. Looking at the other up sides to gaming, Prensky helps look at the way that games like Black & White can be used to look at moral choices, simulators can be used to train and that most games have some manner of problem to solve in order to achieve a satisfactory experience. Closing out the article, it notes (like I had in my "Hot Coffee" post): Like rock and roll in the 1950s, games have been accepted by the young and largely rejected by the old. Once the young are old, and the old are dead, games will be regarded as just another medium and the debate will have moved on. Critics of gaming do not just have the facts against them; they have history against them, too. “Thirty years from now, we'll be arguing about holograms, or something,” says Mr Williams. Technorati Tags: ,