Video Games, or now more correctly titled “Interactive Experiences” have, in the last few years, grown into far more than just toys. Advancements in technology, and the understanding of the psychological impact that play has on the human brain have exponentially grown since their debut in the 1970s. Play is not reserved to children alone. When withholding one’s self from actions of play they are tearing themselves from something that is intrinsic to psychological development. Games are an inexhaustible resource in education. Games like Six Days in Fallujah by Atomic Games whom had input from soldiers whom had been in the battle, being proposed as a way to spread the word about a horrific experience for American soldiers follow a justified cause. Why does education have to continue down the same monotonous path?
At around the same time period in American history, video games were coming into living rooms, and the unwarranted mistreatment of Vietnam veterans for the actions of a few misguided men. This was largely due to the portrayal of U.S. soldiers through the media. Someone is always the Devil, proper induction of the human experience into a work of practiced technique is very similar to both “Art” defined and what a game developer does.
So what are serious games if not Art? Art is personal. Is a movie that makes us cry, or gasp, or cringe wrong for having done so? Art should strive to push boundaries. There are men and women of our generation that deserve to have their stories told, whether it is a war story, a quirky science fiction adventure, or a tale of lovers fighting for one another. This is our generations’ impressionism. When even children can make the case for themselves like one remarkable third grader mentioned on the Gamification website. The gamification of Math has been accessible for several years and games like Oregon Trail have been in schools quite some time. Games like Valiant Hearts: The Great War by Ubisoft, and Six Days in Fallujah by Atomic Games, and their efforts in having players learn a little about history, while maintaining the experiences enjoyable nature would seem a valid approach to help in the gamification of the U.S. classroom. Commendation not condemnation would seem like a better approach to this so-called problem.
The guys and gal over at Extra Credits have a great insight to the problems and triumphs going on within the Video Game Industry, and I highly recommend their YouTube channel. These videos do contain some mild use of strong language.