James Paul Gee, thank you for writing an article for gamers, by a gamer. Now, please don’t ever do it again. Gamers are not academics. Some people, my professor included, will try to tell me this is not true. But it is. Any gamer who was attending a higher-education institution dropped out with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It’s true, I wouldn’t make this stuff up.
I really liked your main point, James, but I had to drag it out of the quick-sand of self-made vocabulary. Games vs. games? Big ‘G’, little ‘g’? Why, James, why? Situated learning matrix? Identity? NPC’s? “Designed” and “goal-driven” problem spaces? WTF, James!
Look, I am not going to lie, my eyes perked up a bit when you talked about Tony Hawk’s skateboarding games–I like those–but honestly, you may as well have called the article: “Look ma, I told you I’d make a living off these things someday!”
For crying outloud! Not everyone is a gamer. I felt like you were acting as the Roger Ebert of video gaming here. I felt like you were giving me a list of all the things you did in highschool, instead of going to the dances and football games. I’m not knocking you, James, god knows I spent too many hours in my garage between the ages of sixteen and twenty, far away from girls, with my controller in my hands–no pun intended–but come on, keep the tech-speak at a minimum, or there’s no way I’m gonna finish your article in time to post about it for my class!
That being said, I think that this article raises one of the most important points facing educators of the modern era: What do video-games have that schools don’t?
I really like James’ point about the role of failure in learning. In school, there is nothing to be gained from failure. (Unless you consider being grounded or smacked around a gain.) In games, there is. As James points out, when a person “loses a life” in a game–fails–they learn what strategies work, and what strategies do not, increasing the likelihood of future sucesses. This is one point I wish the public education system would embrace. Perhaps they could institute a new policy: No child left behind without extra quarters.