Gamer Classification Week Part 5: Not All Games are of the “Video” variety
Welcome to Gamer Classification Week! This week, Jacob and Diane are providing a 5-part series on the categorizations related to gamers and gaming. Understanding these many aspects of gaming is essential to helping you understand games, gamers, and the information with which we collide. Make sure you catch up with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4!
The concept of gaming spans parts of life that most people do not even think of as “gaming.” Most of the time, they are just enjoyable hobbies, or a way to spend a few extra minutes while killing some time. The biggest example of this that I can think of is Board Games. Monopoly. Sorry. Life. Risk. These are all games that have been around so long, they’re just a part of everyday life for most people. Some board games even start to look like video games.
Video games are no different than board games; the background structure of them remains the same, they just become more complex, faster, have a different story, different format etc. Video games and board games are both still games. They both provide community, socialization, and learning.
Some games are just better at it. The best example I can think of for an educational video game is Fold.it. It’s a video game (that can be played by anyone), to figure out the structure of proteins. It’s highly educational, so much so that the players of FoldIt are all authors on an article in Nature for the work that they did. These are laymen, without advanced degrees. Gaming is changing the world. The gaming trend is even continuing, with a new game that has come out more recently than Fold.It called Phylo. It’s about DNA rather than proteins. Games and gamers are making the world better by doing what we all like doing: playing games.
A step away from the “serious games” is the idea of gamification, the idea of turning anything in life into a game; to make it more fun and more productive. A great idea is turning grad school into a game.
Perhaps the problem with graduate school, like the problem in many bad video games, are the mechanics behind the way we do graduate school. Here is my proposal, game graduate school. If we look at the game mechanics that make games successful, we can approach grad school in a way that might make it easier on us, and also more fun.
Gamification is also simple. It doesn’t have to be grandiose and change a lot of lives or make something serious better. It can just be about playing a game with coffee beans.
What games do you play that aren’t video games? Did you realize they were games before?
Video games are just the new kid on the block, humans have always played games.
Ding! You’ve leveled up! Please see your local librarian for training.
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