Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
they contain inferior graphics cards. Besides that,
it is also necessary to have at least 4,7GB avail-
able in your hard drive, and even more space for
future creations.
A huge debate has been installed in the scien-
tific community over the scientific validity of the
game. Science magazine has even put together
a team of scientists to classify it, publishing the
results in October 2008 (Bohannon, 2008). The
game has scientifically failed, especially in the
area of Biology 5 .
Spore contents reflect prejudices and stereo-
types, namely as far as gender is concerned, as all
the creatures are believed to be male. The female
creatures only appear in the mating and procreation
period. This is also verified in linguistics as the
language is not inclusive of the two genders. This
observation is consistent with affirmations made
by Newman (2004), which states that woman, in
digital games, are under-represented and are usu-
ally illustrated as spectators and their behaviour
is stereotyped.
The game also reinforces the idea of domination
relationships and the quest for power, whether reli-
gious, military or economic, encouraging physical
and psychological violence, illustrated, in terms of
ideology, by the ethereal image of a 'God' of the
civilization trying to dominate other civilizations.
These domination interactions, power struggles
and the idea of authority associated can be use-
ful, by allowing the user to critically judge and
question the dynamics inherent to the relationships
established in the 'real' world, in comparison
to the dynamics presented in the Spore virtual
world, thus offering the hypotheses of making the
game a vehicle for the development of a critical
consciousness and for the awareness of social and
political contradictions. For this critical thinking
to happen, however, we think it is necessary for
younger players to be questioned by older people
or to be faced with opportunities for peer discus-
sion about the game. These opportunities can be
provided by the school in various contexts, such
as in classes devoted to civic education. Without
this kind of confrontation, as in any game, the path
of violence and domination may be the dominant
trend and alienation is the most obvious result.
There is an important socializing component in
the dynamics of the game that promotes friendships
between cultures, a vital factor to the development
of the game narrative, highlighting the importance
of human interactions and allowing the avatars and
the players, as owners of the avatars, to interact
and learn together. Again, this component can only
have positive results, in terms of acknowledge-
ment of the social value of friendship between
nations, cultures and individuals, if highlighted
and discussed among peers and between genera-
tions (teachers, parents, brothers, neighbors, etc.).
As far as the attitudes towards the nature and
environment are concerned, the evaluation is
really negative, mainly in the Space Phase, as it
is necessary to destroy cities, civilizations and
planets and kill creatures. Counterbalancing these
attitudes, but not forgiving them, in the last phase
of the game the user has to collect rare fauna and
flora. Still, if one can promote the discussion of
the possibilities and options that the game allows,
all the virtual destruction can serve as a medium
of awareness of the consequences of such acts in
the real world.
CONCLUSION
Digital games promote meaningful learning be-
cause, as we have stated above, they allow the
development of critical thinking, outlined inside
the game play.
To substantiate these statements, we have pro-
ceeded to the analyses and evaluation of a fairly
recent game, Spore, presenting its educational
potential and limitations.
In conclusion, and overcoming the controversy
generated by the dynamics of the game and of
the evolution of the species, Spore has numer-
ous educational advantages, as reveled by the
analyses of the game, in light of the principles
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