The Takeover of the Online Game

As I sat in lecture today and we talked about motivation and what makes someone keep coming back to a game, I sat puzzled in my seat thinking about the online video game. What makes these so popular?

We all play Candystand, Addictinggames, and Sporcle multiple times a day. What keeps us coming back? why do we play the simple games day in and day out? What makes them addicting?

More Options for Curriculums

I read an article on Sciencenewsforkids.org called What Video Games can Teach Us. James Gee was interviewed and the artcile explained the many pros about children playing video games. One specific example was that video games help with keeping the attention of children who have ADHD at least 9 hours. I thought this was interesting because today we talked about motivation and this seems to have some connection. Children with ADHD have trouble focusing in school as well as certain activities that most people may think are entertaining.  Playing video games brings out a motivation to stay focused and play the game for a longer period of time instead of moving on to the next thing. It would be interesting if they would bring this idea into ways of training children with ADHD to focus on things through motivation. This should very well be experimented as a curriculum with the classroom. Children should play games in the classes room instead of sitting at the desk listening to the teacher’s lesson. Children would be motivated to learn more in school.

It was also interesting to read that playing video games can encourage kids to try new things. For example if a child loves playing a game that has science fiction, they may take more interest into the subject and will decide to read books and join activities involving science fiction. This in hand would help children practice and improve their reading skills.

I raise the issue that schools across the country should be trying new lesson plans that involves playing video games. As humans we are always doing research to find new ways to improve our way of lives through technology. Playing video games in the classroom may enhance the learning curve and increase motivation in children at a early age. We should NOT be content with the current basic curriculum. Experimenting and change is key to improving.

The Frustrations of Free Online Games

Well, I did it again.  I spent over an hour last night playing one game on Miniclip.com.  I couldn’t even tell you what the name of the game was, and yet I wasted the golden hours of my work-time window on this stupid game. The game involved shooting a squirrel/chipmunk/critter out of a rocket, and as you collected acorns, you gained points that you could put towards upgrades, which would help you launch the critter further, ultimately gaining you more points.

It is apropos that today’s lecture should be about motivation and engagement, because I believe that both aspects play a large part in our learning.  Last night, however, my time spent playing that frustrating online game led me to challenge the concepts that we have discussed in class.  I believe that motivation and engagements are only two tips of the triangle, and that reward, or compensation, must also be considered in order for the concepts we have discussed in class to fully be realized.  In sports, for example, a victory in a game accomplishes all three of the aforementioned concepts because it is a step towards the championship.  In video games, fully thought out and developed games for gaming systems, gamers are often rewarded or compensated for their success with bonus games or material, unlocking new content, or new gameplay options.  Hundreds of other real-world examples, including grades, competitions, and extracurriculars, exist to support this theory.

The point is that we engage in these activities because we know that when we finish them we will be better off than when we first began.  There is a distinct difference in these games than a game like Tetris or Solitaire, which one can play simply for the value of wasting a little time.  A distinct line is drawn between the simple time-wasters and the multi-dimensional games.  The problem that I have experienced is that these free online games fall directly in the middle.  The games are developed and lengthy enough to be motivating, but not engaging enough to produce any feelings of value, ultimately leading to the frustration of free online gaming, which leaves you with the feeling, “That’s it? I played that game for over an hour!  I don’t feel accomplished.  I just wasted a lot of time.”

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