Video Games in the Classroom

Do video games have a place in the post secondary classroom? If so, in which department should courses examining video games be taught?

Yes, video games do have a place in the post secondary classroom. They have a lot to offer and in recent times have really been refined to give an entertaining and educational experience.

Braid is a good example of a game worthy to be taught. It doesn’t have any spoken words, just a nice classical soundtrack that is perfectly matched to the game.  It has a nice written story that is so unique that it hasn’t occurred ever before and wouldn’t be easily replicated in the future. The unique part of the story is that it’s non-linear. You can go through it and skip parts, as it’s a puzzle game this is a nice feature, and some parts require intense thinking to put the story line in order.  This is one of a select few games that can be rated 10/10 for being so coherent. When you finish it you feel very satisfied.

There are also games like Portal, a 3D puzzle game, which strive less for story and more for character development. In this game you are main character and you have to perform various puzzle tasks. There is an AI voice that helps you through the game. Throughout the game this AI talks to you and tells you certain things. It’s a one way street with this character since it does all the talking and you, being the main character, do all the listening. Being as good listener is essential in this game. After a while you pick up that his AI isn’t so innocent and is trying to kill you. This game is good at giving you shuttle hints that you have to pay attention on. This is another 10/10 game. When you finish it you get a satisfied feeling.

Both games don’t even have a happy ending but still provide satisfaction. So games that are fulfilling throughout the game are good. They don’t need to have all aspects that a normal literary piece to be good. Sometime with less there is more. I think having video games in post secondary classrooms will be a good learning resource.

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