I had not planned to talk about the Game Studies course again today when suddenly I found the attached article in our local Sunday paper, The Chronicle Tribune. Dr. Denning and I were contacted by a reporter this week and answered a lot of questions regarding the class. The reporter was so excited when he had heard about the class that he asked his manager for the story and approached us. Even after answering his questions, I spent quite a while longer talking to him about his personal passion for games. Seems he is an avid gamer himself and was excited to learn about the course being taught. It was a great conversation and could lead to someone new to game with in the area. That said, I didn’t expect the article to appear on the front page of our local paper. Apparently it was a slow news week.
So, has your freelance work or personal involvement in gaming ever appeared in the local newspaper? Perhaps a game group or local gaming con? How interested in the gaming hobby is your local newspaper?
(Transcript of text available below the scanned image)
Two professors at Taylor University are hoping to bring their appreciation of games to the classroom.
Dr. Jon Denning, CSE professor, and T.R. Knight, Director of Enterprise Infrastructure, are leading a new “Game Studies” class at Taylor this semester. The class will look at the social and cultural aspects of games, as well as the math, systems, and design involved with them.
In addition, students will study “gamification,” seeing how games can engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. The final project in the class will have them working in groups to either create a digital, mobile, hybrid or tabletop game.
According to Knight and Denning, games have directly influenced culture through gamification. Role-playing games have been used to teach culture appropriation while online games to study virtual markets and economies.
“Games have also spawned pop culture references, movies, TV shows, and technological innovations like motion capture,” said Knight. “Games continue to drive technology, culture and society.” The format of games has also expanded over the years, ranging from tabletop and role-playing games to console and mobile games. Denning says that this has led more people into gaming.
“I think the biggest reason the median age is rising is because the types of games have shifted,” he said. “Mobile phones have opened up an avenue of games that weren’t available before and gaming systems such as the Wii have made gaming more accessible.”
Denning and Knight also pointed out that games can be a social experience. Games have players either working together cooperatively or being competitive; which often times forces people to behave differently.
“When people are playing games, they often take on different personas,” Denning said. “It’s almost like they are playing a role in a play.”
Knight hopes that students will leave the class with a deeper appreciation of the design and history of games, as well as the impact they have on our lives and culture. He says that games will continue to play a role in people’s lives in the future.
“I think we will see increased interest in the social aspects of gaming with more tabletop games and more multiplayer and interactive digital games being produced,” Knight said.
“I also think we will see more gaming in our culture with gamification utilized more and more in marketing and influencing culture.”