Playing digital games after writing a SSHRC proposal

A perspective on the SSHRC proposal: I am afraid that in my proposal I didn’t answer the question “So what?” for the reader. Things discussed in it seem so obvious and connected, flowing from each other: (i) computer games are fun, (ii) work usually lacks this property (not that people don’t like their jobs; simply tasks they may have to conduct at the computer are not always exciting, engaging or providing possibility for personal growth), (iii) games have specific mechanics that are considered to be reasons of fun, and fun at work that doesn’t exclude work itself is a benefit for employees and consequently for organizations, (iv) why not to apply those game mechanics to work and observe fruitful results of work becoming fun? It is simply saying and it is all their but I am not sure that these ideas in proposal are fully interconnected to justify a proposed research, mainly because I somehow focused more on games than on work: was it the right focus for two pages or not?.. Also I now intend to reexamine my methodology and add more studying of context, documents, history of the organization or department (considering where to put boundaries will be a tough job, I guess). It is all under the influence of INF1003 course materials on interpretational research; I only have to figure out how to apply it to small scale research without luxury of several years to conduct it.

From doubts and intentions to pleasant thoughts. I was intrigued to hear a discussion at the lecture about digital games (it isn’t hard to guess why, if you’ve seen a glimpse of my proposal above). I have to admit that I’ve never reviewed literature on game violence research and found it insightful to learn about biases and politics involved that are especially distinct in observation: if games can aid in learning and teach good things, why simultaneously they will be considered absolutely neutral in regard to teaching bad things. My new, general, and probably greatly biased thoughts on this account are as follows.

I am conscious of the nature of skepticism in that observation, but can remember only very-very few games that actually “teach” bad things, meaning encourage them. If violence is present in games but is punished or regarded as a disgusting act (what is mostly the case; even if you chose “bad” path in the game, you don’t get attractive results or tapping on the shoulder; if you find destruction and tears, and pure power attractive, isn’t it your nature? if the game gave you a choice, isn’t it your choice? but I digress...), than game can mostly teach things about punishment and violence’s disgusting nature. At the same time people put a great effort in designing good teaching tools, and research, and debate a lot on how to do it; so, if we consider that violent game teaches violence, we can, with every reason, reward its game designers with PhDs of psychology and education. ...And on the other hand we have “susceptible” child’s psyche (“bad” path is easier, I always follow it in games, let me try it in the real life) and factor of getting used to things (there are so much violence on the screen, I can easily stand one more case in the real life) that are themselves full of contradictions. On the grounds of my opinion (sounds even too academically :) ) I would suggest that maybe researchers don’t need to learn so diligently from each other — those who study games as violence promoters and those who study teaching tools in the form of games — but rather apply their research methods to see how games do as right-things promoters and games as a form of having fun, respectfully. In my view, these studies differ greatly and the term “teaching” has to be used cautiously, that is why in one of the cases I chose to use “promotion”.

No comments:

Post a Comment