From Candy Crush to Catan: One Student's Perspective on the Benefits of Gaming in Academia
Keywords:gaming, interdisciplinary, persuasive games, serious games
AbstractIn the spring semester of 2015, I, a fresh-faced sophomore in college, made the bold decision to take a class called, “The Rhetoric of Gaming.” Having only really played games during my childhood, this choice was perhaps a bit naïve of me. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was the definition of what some like to refer to as a “casual,” “plebe,” or even “newb,” depending upon the decade in which you spent your teen years. In fact, I was even below that. I truly had absolutely no business being in that classroom. I was a hater, actively dismissive of gaming and the surrounding culture as a whole. Not only did I feel like games were solely for entertainment, but I also thought that, even as modes of entertainment, gaming ultimately had little to no value. Even worse still, gaming, in my mind, was a boy’s club in the most detestable way imaginable. When I imagined gamers, I saw horrifying scenes of men hurling violent, sexist insults at one another over Xbox live. Even though I typically think of myself as an open-minded person, everything I knew of gaming and gamers was based completely on harmful stereotypes. Putting all this aside, when you consider that my peak gaming experience occurred when Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was released, it was abundantly clear that I had a deficit from the moment I walked into the classroom. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and no way to relate to my peers regarding gaming. When they spoke of FPSs and MMOs, I responded with WTFs and IDKs. Considering all of this, enrolling in the Gaming class was probably one of the most foolish decisions I’ve made during my academic career. However, much to my surprise, it also became one of the most rewarding ones as well.
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