An educator new to games may ask why all the ruckus? Why games? Why now? A long term view of the question sees the answer in societal change. Chris Haskell notes in his talks the idea that when society changes it takes education around thirty years to play catch-up. Home computers hit the market in force in the early 1980s and the digital age sparked into life. A generation later we question how relevant a factory model of education can be in a digital age. The factory model relies on a gradable question/answer format when the realities of the digital age require a problem/solution skill set. Problem/solutions are what games do well. Games are hot right now because they represent the possibilities of the digital age.
In this diversity we see an ever increasing possibility space. Possibility space is all the options and choices a player can make. Raph Koster argues that once the player has solved this space they become bored, it's why two adults rarely play a game of tic-tac-toe. It’s too easy because the possibility space is small. Looking at games for education, the so-called edutainment games, have often had limited possibility space. It is the result of placing the learning before the fun. Outside of Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego it can be hard to name a great educational game during the early days of the field. Yet as the gamer generation harnesses its love of games and skills as educators, the field is ripe for a seachange in engaging, high-quality educational games that increase the possibility space both in games and Games. Games are hot right now because we are developing a literacy.
As a field we need to keep pushing for a higher literacy in games and Games and that literacy is our mission here on Gamindex. A literacy in the games that we play both for fun and for education and a literacy for understanding and navigating the Game as well. Big-g games are what games theorist James Paul Gee calls the social community around games. This Game is the 32 million people watching the DOTA2 International, it is the 38 million subscribers to PewDiePie’s Youtube channel, it is the Minecraft phenomenon. As teachers we need a Game of our own.
Here at Gamindex we are working hard to share our love and knowledge of games as both gamers and educators. With our 50th review we are branching out. We’re making the site bigger and collaborating with friends across the Internet to build that Game. Join us. If your are a veteran to games we want to hear from you. If you are new to games and the Game culture, we encourage you to stay a while and listen, learn the terrain, and when ready bring your ideas to the table. There is room for everyone in games and that makes for exciting times as both a player and a games for learning advocate. Out there is the game that is right for your classroom and we’re here to help you find it. Like that friend who knows all the cheat codes, Gamindex is here when you need us, so get ready, Player 1, to search, play, learn!
The Gamindex Team