On Engagement, Education, and Games Research

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3 Responses

  1. Jeremy Cushman says:

    Amazingly (given that this is 2011 and so what about to say has been said again and again) your post here is a response to nostalgia. And I mean nostalgia in the worst possible sense, which also means I’m pretending to believe there might be a decent understanding of the term.

    The same Humanities folks that proclaim a progressive politics are often just as nostalgic as those particular politicians who stand in the way of that progression. That is, they both want things to be the way they used to be because, well you know, change is hard. And change certainly is hard. But there was never a pure humanities removed from technology and change, and there was never the pure, simple political life of the constantly imagined 1950s. Both of these ideals capture the way we never were.

    Resisting the study of games seems as nostalgic to me as resisting the study of the frickin’ printing press. We (and do mean that pronoun; I can be nostalgic too) need to get over our humanist selves already because the Humanities are bigger and far more fun than our boring and time-honored nostalgia.

  2. You realize that we’re all just jealous that we didn’t choose gaming as our research areas.

    Seriously though I appreciate your posting the thoughts behind what you’re doing. It’s not that I question why you play games, of course. That’s completely obvious to me. However, I keep thinking I need to do some similar posts that explain some of my choices and why I focus on the things I do. I like your q&a model and the nice explanations. Maybe I should start asking myself questions in Formspring so I at least have a list of what I need to answer :)

  3. dr. b. says:

    @Jeremy I think that you are pretty much spot on and I think that it is equally difficult for those of us doing dh to understand that the ground on which we stand is also constantly shifting. I have seen all of the “new” media stuff that I was doing over the last 20 years quickly become old. I keep wondering at what point will I become to old, tired, busy, or nostalgic to move past what I am currently doing to see value in something else. 20 years from now will I be the one nostalgic for games and education?

    @Traci It’s never too late to jump on the bandwagon. It is going to take some dedicated research and a few RSIs, but you can definitely do it! :-)

    Occassionally I do feel compelled to do these posts because someone has either “poo-poo’ed” my research or because people fail to understand that while I write and talk a lot about “play” and “fun” that there is a lot of thought, theory, and work that goes into the work that I produce (here and in more traditional academic venues). I cringe when people write or talk about games and game mechanics from a totally observational point. I think that it is dismissive and disrespectful of the work that we do. (On the other hand I have much respect for folks who have wathced ohter folks play games and realize that there is a lot of work involved in what we do with games and that it is just not something that they can or want to do…and that’s fine, I don’t want to study what most other folks study with the same level of dedication and I’m not afraid to admit it).

    It’s like it was back in the early 90s when folks giggled at the work that we did in the MOO. Wasn’t it just a chat room and a place for teachers to meet with students online? Didn’t we just waste too much time programming? I see all of the time that I spent working with the MOO as a precursor to the work that I do now and I also recognize that because I was passionate about the work that I did there I got some of the best work ever from my students in the MOO (and I am still a bit nostalgic). But for me the nostalgia that drives me forward rather than keeps me in place. I see what is possible and I want to push te envoelope, but I recognize the amount of hands on work that’s necessary to do this thing responsibly.

    Alright, I’m taking my soapbox and moving along for now. ;-)a