Video Games in the Classroom

Ashley Geiger
During class we were exposed to many different types of electronic literature that are definitely not the same as traditional texts. I really think that after looking at some of these pieces such as, Galatea or Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw, it is not that much of a leap to go into video games. The difference between games and literature seems to be too fine of a line to define. The only real difference I can come up with is simply the creator’s intention. Both reading and playing video games can be simply to get enjoyment or to get the creator’s perspective of different situations.
If we decide to look at the creator’s perspective I think that looking at video games can be just as if not more enlightening than simply reading a person’s article, novel or essay. Within a video game people are able to make choices that can help with the outcome of an event or story. If we look at the original Nintendo with the Super Mario Brothers game, it would be up to the player to get either Mario or Luigi to save the Princess. If neither character was able to save the Princess then Koopa would win.
In this sense video games are actually quite closely related to choose your own adventure books from when you are little. If we look at more complex video or even computer games such as World of Warcraft we would see that in these games while still following a basic map of where the story will go the players have a lot more control. They can decide if they want to go to a different part of the world instead of the part they are in. They get to choose what they look like, what their names are and are even able to talk to other players. This form of entertainment doesn’t simply make the players readers but it makes them writers as well.
I think that if we are able to think outside the book and allow electronic literature into classrooms we should also accept video games so that not only can people express themselves better but so that they can also be introduced to different types of literature. It opens doors for people to be able to express themselves in ways that might allow them to become more comfortable with the written word and make them more creative.
If the studying of video games is to be taught in post secondary classrooms they should be taught in the creative writing programs as well as media classes. They could also be taught in classes like the one we are in where different types of literature is studied to try to come closer to a conclusion on what literature is.

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