Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Making College Students Play Video Games

Surprisingly, this is an issue when it comes to the academic field of video game history, theory, and game design. In order the understand what makes a game work, you need to play products of the past. We have to do this in film every day. Without our predecessors, we wouldn't be where we are today.

The problem? The stuff from the past can be a bit hard to sit through.

Try watching Birth of a Nation without the music soundtrack. I've done it. Twice. It's not easy. And many college students feel the same way with early video games such as Zorg.

Our students are going to get frustrated and pissed off at us because why the hell are they playing these stupid games that are broken? ~Clara Fernandez-Vara, of the Singapore MIT GAMBIT Game Lab

I love that quote.

The games are not necessarily broken. Some of them are being played on newer technology which creates new issues. Some are on a different level of complexity, aka Ghosts and Goblins, that a vast majority of gamers have never experienced, and some are unable to see past the visuals. Games made a decade ago look completely different to what is on the market today. 

It's nice to see that the field of game theory is expanding at colleges, but access to earlier titles is limited-and what we do have can be difficult to muddle through if you're a late 90's kid. If you're in my age range, 25-30, you know Frogger, PacMan, and Pitfall. The late 90's kids don't have a clue. They got Halo. And just like black and white movies, if you haven't been watching them your whole life, they can be a challenge to sit through.

On the plus, more of our childhood favorites are being upgraded for XBox Live, PSN, and WiiWare. Oregon Trail, for example (which is pretty good on the Wii). So how do we get young adults to play older games? No clue. I'm still trying to figure out how to make black and white movies more appealing to students. Short of a money incentive, I don't know.

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