Now as I’m sure most of you already know of the educational abilities that gaming has to offer, I won’t try to convince you of such things. The fact of the matter is: gaming has been proven to help with various qualities of life such as hand-eye coordination, multitasking, focus, Et Cetera. What this article will instead discuss is this unintended aspect of gaming as well as its possibility in helping others on the large scale through the medium that we all hold dear. Gaming has the potential to do so much good that if the industry was able work for this state of the medium then one day, politicians and news media that claim that video games are the direct link to violence and hatred will become a thing of the past.
Gaming, Education, and it’s Co-Evolution
Firstly, let us take a little trip to around 50 years ago when the first game consisted of squares on a black screen. To apply character to the paragraphs to follow: These early games were never made with the idea that one day games could educate the world of other cultures, mathematics, or relay deep and emotional stories on par with that of movies or books. They were the most part a novelty, something to just show what computers, which took up to much space for conventional means were capable of. Over time, as the interest in video games grew, and their ease of access became more prevalent, games continued to serve as a reliever of boredom, or a time to relax after a long day. With the exception of games where education was the main focus, these games never cared teach the player things, they were simply made to serve the purpose that their medium was known for: enjoyment.
As technology increased, games with deep story arcs, music, and increasingly powerful graphics began to appear. creating with it a larger fan base. regardless of this though, games were still focused on entertainment. And this trend continues even today. With the exceptions of blatant shovelware and greed releases, which Steam filters out well for the most part, games are still built around the basis of fun. Education just happened to be an offshoot of that enjoyment.
The thing is, anything can be helpful to you, within reason, and sometimes this can result in unintended revelations such as education in games. These aspects simply happened to be co-evolving along the gaming medium. As games got faster, reaction speed increased. As stories got more complicated and puzzles more challenging, problem solving grew. The evolution of gaming allowed for this medium to host a new, just as beautiful, perk. and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
A Game that Taught Me To Learn
Currently, mainstream media and politicians, in the United States at least, have a habit of blaming random correlations for issues instead of getting down to what the issue really is. Everyone needs a scapegoat, but that is for another time. We as gamers know that the media has failed to report on many great happenings that the gaming medium has caused, instead they call our medium the next drug of humanity. Chances are, unless we can show them something huge, their opinions will never sway. It is for this reason that I propose proper implementation of this aspect of gaming to be of common use.
Now I’m not saying that education should be shoved down your throat, nor get rid of the games that are made to be “stupid fun.” It is in fact possible to educate in the background. Have games create an interest for knowledge that will make people want to learn when not ingame. A good example that I can think of that has directly affected me is the Europa Universalis series. a few years ago, when I picked up this game for the first time, I went through a metamorphosis of knowing little of the world, even my own country, to knowing where most modern countries are, some of their history, geographical makeup, and has resulted in my increased connection to world affair. Given that I am a teenager, and just in my first year of high school when I started playing the series, my ignorance is understandable for an American student. But these games allowed me to be so much more, to the point where I can run circles around my peers in the aforementioned subjects. Even a foreign exchange student staying with me in regards to his country’s history.
Those who have played the Europa Universalis series may be somewhat confused, after all: Europa Universalis is a game about making your own alternate history, and as such things you do in game, doesn’t reflect real life. This is true, but it is also what makes it such a brilliant education game. It allows the freedoms that a player expects, more so than most games, while still delivering on historical events through popups that peak the curiosity for further personal research. The fact that this game takes place over the entire world, had me staring at maps in my classes to see how large my empire would be on a real map. At some point I stopped looking at the map to trace my imaginary empire, but to instead see the real world and it’s borders, all the while asking my history teacher why the borders were the way they were, as there was always a reason for my Empire gaining and losing land. This game had instilled in me true fascination of a subject that many mark as boring and uninteresting.
It will, of course, not have the same affects for everyone. People are fickle creatures, each with their own beliefs and aspirations. But if anything is to be taken out of my anecdote: it’s that games have the potential to do great things for the world .
Now I don’t want to steal any ideas, and frankly they would do a better job at explaining it, so here is a video by Extra Credits further discussing this topic:
Thanks for Reading!