A statement on games and expert gaming, the tl;dr version

  • games are systems of constraints and particular goals
  • play is exploration of these systems
  • expert play is pushing at the boundaries of these systems
  • gaming is engaging in play within a larger sociocultural context of gaming culture
    • i.e., building social and cultural capital while engaging in legitimate gaming practice and participating in affinity groups
  • expert gaming is doing this well
    • i.e., it’s much more than just interacting with a game

Gee, Stevens, et al. basically said the same things at GLS conferences. Gaming takes place in *context.* Research and design should account (if not focus) on that context. It can matter more than the actual game in the story of learning and activity.

Extending the statement on games, I’ve more recently added that the true responsibility of educators in the games for learning space is to help players cultivate a gaming attitude to everyday life. Since being an expert player is pushing at the boundaries of a system, and since the world is basically made up of interrelated systems, why couldn’t game play be extended to life play? This is sort of what McGonigal is pushing at, but I think the difference I’m thinking of is in scope. She’s interested in huge global problems. I want people to be critical in all aspects of their lives, but I prob focus more on the local.

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