Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Gaming is considered to be a key element in
child development as children, when playing,
assimilate and transform their reality (Piaget,
1983). Vygotsky (1989) finds that engaging in
games helps the development of creative activity
among students, enhancing their abilities.
Engaging Digital Games
We can define a digital game as a game to be
played using technological devices throughout
human - computer interaction, and that has, as-
sociated to it, a narrative (Pivec and Kearney,
2007; Gee, 2003).
A game, acording to Zimmerman (2004) is a
fictional interactive activity without obligations,
with rules, a defined time and space and quantifi-
able outcomes. The game play is the free space
of movement within a rigid structure (Zimmer-
man, 2004).
Malone (1981) and Prensky (2000) list six
fundamental elements of an engaging digital
game: rules, goals and objectives, outcomes and
feedback, conflict/competition/challenge/opposi-
tion, interaction, and representation.
Malone (1981), refering to digital games, states
that “in order for an environment to be challeng-
ing, it must provide goals whose attainment is
uncertain (p.50)”.
Jones (1998) argues that, for a digital game to be
engaging it must obey to the following standards:
In a game, children always behave beyond the
normal behavior for their age, and for their daily
behavior; in a game is as if it they are larger than
they actually are. (…) the game contains all devel-
opmental tendencies in a condensed form and is,
itself, a major source of development (Vygotsky,
1989, p.117).
Winnicott (1975) highlights the importance of
playing, which is conceptually identical to gaming
(Huizinga, 2001), in children lives, referring that
playing is universal, leads to social relationships,
is a way of communication and is engaging. Ac-
cording to Winnicot (1975), it's by playing that
both children and adults enjoy the freedom of
creation, mobilizing their whole personality. And
only by using creativity can the individual discover
the self, in a process of increasing self-awareness
and independence.
Huizinga (2001) suggests that gaming was a
key factor in the genesis of culture in human his-
tory, stating that “the novelty factor underlying
cultural processes is the creator of various funda-
mental forms of social life and the spirit of playful
competition inherent to gaming is undoubtedly a
very old social impulse” (Huizinga, 2001, p. 34),
closely relating games to human expression and
In today society, many authors consider digi-
tal games powerful learning tools that promote
informal learning in an active, autonomous, col-
laborative and participative way (Prensky, 2001a;
Gee, 2003).
incorporate tasks with clear goals;
goals that the player can achieve and
the ability to concentrate on the task;
tasks which provide immediate feedback;
a deep and effortless involvement in the
game play;
being able to allow the player to loose con-
cern over the self;
altering the sense of time.
There are several typologies outlined to pro-
ceed to the classification of digital games, as the
one from the British Educational Communications
and Technology Agency (BECTa, 2003) 1 , which
outlined a typology that attempts to encompass
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