Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"Serious Games: Understanding the grey area between learning and playing"

Michael Magee and Owen Brierley talked about how game playing is always already a learning experience - along the lines of Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You.

Serious Games Initiative
"The Serious Games Initiative is focused on uses for games in exploring management and leadership challenges facing the public sector. Part of its overall charter is to help forge productive links between the electronic game industry and projects involving the use of games in education, training, health, and public policy."

Serious Games: Improving Public Policy through Game-Based Learning and Simulation
Serious Games Summit 2006
Serious Games Canada
Canadian Game Studies Association

Interesting stuff, but I would have loved to hear more critical discussion of military games and the civilianisation of technology. Someone brought up Pax Warrior - an interesting twist on the war game based on inspired by the absolutely tragic experiences of General Roméo Dallaire in Rwanda, where Canadian peace-keeping forces were abandoned by the UN and were not able to stop the genocide of hundreds of thousands. (If you haven't seen Shake Hands With The Devil, I highly recommend it.) My concern is not just with the skills that can be learned in serious games, but the values too. Mia asked about activist games or games for social change, but the panelists pointed out that their value depends on who is trying to do the indoctrinating or resocialising.

(updated 15.08.06)

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