The other night, a teacher sent a writing student over to me. She was trying to pick a topic for her next paper, and was torn between two: learning from video games or being a couch potato. Anyone who has spent any time reading this blog knows what my answer was. The student was actually quite surprised at how quickly I responded. More often than not, a student will ask for this kind of help, and I’ll construct a labyrinth of questions to help them make a decision. Not this time, though.
When I checked in on her a little bit later, she had decided to focus on the game she’s currently playing. She had a long list going of things she had learned while playing the game. Most of it was game-specific, but it was her reaction to some of the other items on her list that interested me. For example, she listed something about how your character is affected if you marry a leader in the game. (What she learned from that was that marrying powerful people can boost your lifestyle.) She had some good ideas going in her list, but I didn’t see how they ended up being organized.
I came home from that to find an interesting article on how video games promote sociability. Interesting topic given that those of us who have spent any time in front of a gaming console have had to work hard to shake the image of being anti-social, immature loners (okay, so that image really disappeared ten years ago, but you get my point). the article really seems to focus on MMORPGs, but I’d argue that there on solo games that also promote some sort of socializing. Players chat in the multiplayer game, striking deals, forming alliances. I’ve seen players who enjoy solo games come together in online forums and in real life to chat about the game, swapping hints, talking about the mechanics.
Video games are less isolated than they were in the past, and those who live at a gaming console may actually be socializing with more people than they would encounter in their offline lives