Computer Games in the EFL Classroom

Computer Games in the EFL Classroom

eBook - 2014
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can be \taken to mean that the formal properties of video games would thus be more imporant, more intrinsic, than the stories in the games' (Egenfeldt et al. 2008: 196). The ludologists accuse the narratologists of neglecting ludic (= ̀play'-specific) aspects such as interactivity, visual aesthetics, rules. However, the narratologists argue that \the puzzles in a work of interactive fiction function to control the revelation of the narrative; they are part of an interactive process that generates narrative' (Montfort 2005: 3). They in turn criticize the basic idea of ludology, where stories are \just uninteresting ornaments or gift wrappings to games' (Eskelinen 2001). Today the radicalness of the debate has slowed down (Mäyrä 2008: 10): No one actually seems to be willing [anymore] to reduce games either into stories, or claim that they are only interaction, or gameplay, pure and simple, without any potential for storytelling. [....] Looking for narratives, one can find (or construct) them, and it is equally possible to search and find the essence of games in their interactive character {in their gameplay. Remarkably, certain ludologists have come to agree with the importance of narrative in games; Juul, for example, has altered his formerly radical view on narrative in games (2003b: 168): On a formal level, games are themable, meaning that a set of rules can be assigned a new fictional world without modifying the rules. A game can always be changed from one setting to another; the gun can become a green rectangle, the players can control wooden figures rather than humanoid characters. But on an experiential level, fiction matters in games, and it is important to remember the duality of the formal and the experiential perspective on fiction in games. Of course, not all digital games contain a narrative (cf. chapter 4.3). But those which do must
perspectives will be described in more detail in the following chapters. Naturally, there are overlaps between these categories, and single design elements (as will come to show) can be discussed in the course of several perspectives (e. g. cutscenes can be viewed as either a narrative or cinematographic device). 4.2, Ludology vs. Narratology: We walk the same path, but got on different shoes; live in the same building, but we got different views (lil wayne). The first perspective from which digital games can be viewed and analyzed is that of 'ludology' which, above all, regards digital games as a new form of ̀play' and thus primarily examines their structural elements that are uniquely ̀play'-related, such as rules, genre, game goals, game tasks, game conflict, level of difficulty and interactivity. The term was coined by game theorist Gonzalo Frasca. Albeit a short one, the history of game studies has produced a raging debate between ludologists (supporters of this perspective) and narratologists, who, in a nutshell, comprehend games as texts and want to apply narrative theory to them. The question is: who gets to claim the field? The ludologists (whose most popular representatives are Gonzalo Frasca, Espen Aarseth, Jesper Juul) argue that simulation is the basis of each game, which runs contrary to the principles of narratives. In his Masters thesis, Juul considered \interactive fiction as a utopia (even if an interesting one), because of the fundamental conflicts between the player-controlled interactivity happening in present time, which is at the heart of games, and narrator-organized representation of events, at the heart of narratives' (Mäyrä 2008: 9). Frasca specified that \games cannot be understood through theories derived from narrative' (Frasca 2001). Ludologists see games as games, and nothing else, which is problematic because it
from different perspectives: One of the key foci of game studies is analysis of games, which involves capacity to make meaningful distinctions within and among games, and between different factors related to playing them (Mäyra 2008: 17). Although still so young, game studies are continuously expanding in popularity as are their objects of study: digital games are a \significant cultural force, which [have] a prominent role in the lives particularly of those people who are living in industrialized countries' (Mäyrä 2008: 4). This reflects in game studies having \reached the point where it has become established both as a field of scientific enquiry and as a branch of knowledge formally taught at universities' (ibid: 4). Most research has been carried out on the subject of possible transfer and effects of digital games on players' behaviour { however, theoretical approaches to the games themselves (their basic characteristics, principles of creation, narration techniques, genre specifics, rule structures) have been scarce. Thus, game studies are still in the fledgling stages {the idea of scholars of various sciences working together and benefiting from each other's finding is yet a theoretical one; the reality looks different. In most cases, the field of game studies is split into different perspectives, each of which wants to comprehend and analyze games on their terms (see below). However, these partial perspectives are one-sided and fail to do justice to the complexity and diversity of today's digital game landscape. The application of merely one approach does not allow for a comprehensive analysis of a game. It is therefore desirable to apply various perspectives to games, as e. g. Kringiel (2009) has done in his dissertation. He distinguishes between (slightly altered): - ludology. - narratology. - cyberdrama. - cinematography. These
surprisingly shallow' (Salen 2008). In many cases, it is the lack of a profound, science-based approach to games and the culture of gaming which lead to uninformed, polemic fearmongering. Unfortunately it is those texts which shape the public opinion of digital games, so it does not come as a surprise that games have a bad reputation in our society. To countervail this image, one has to take a closer look at how games are built and to learn about the creation of game worlds in order to see what makes them ̀tick', in order to reach \analytical appreciation and enhanced understanding' (Mäyrä 2008: 1) of games. I find it crucial to unveil the complexity and aesthetics that many contemporary digital games possess and thus to show that indeed many games are real \Kulturgüter' and not just \low culture trash' (Aarseth 2005: 7) {even when violence plays a considerable role. However, this can only happen if the basic principles of how digital games are created are explored. The knowledge (and capability of partial analysis) of these principles is adamant for developing a computer-specific media competence and literacy (\Medienkompetenz') (as will be specified in chapter 6.5). The basic principles can be allocated to particular perspectives, from which digital games are viewed and analyzed. Thus, the aim of this chapter is to present and explain these different perspectives which form the field of study that is called 'Game Studies'. This very young discipline, which (albeit having existed for several decades already) was officially termed in 2001 (with the publication of Game Studies { the international journal of computer game research { the first journal to scientifically approach the subject) is an interdisciplinary field of study in which scholars of literature, sociology, and computer sciences can explore and research various aspects of digital games
Fact is that commercial computer games play an extensive role in young people's lives, today. According to a recent study, 62 % of German teenagers play computer games at least once a week. This development led many researchers, school leaders and teachers to the question in how far games can be used to engage young people and support their learning inside the classroom. These considerations have been supported by various studies, showing that computer games can enhance various cognitive skills such as the ability of concentration, stamina, tactical aptness, anticipatory thinking, orientation in virtual spaces, and deductive reasoning. Since then, few research projects have launched which examine digital game based learning (i.e. the learning with the help of computer games), both on a theoretical and empirical level. This study approaches the subject of digital game based learning in the EFL classroom from three different angles: Firstly, a scientific perspective will be adopted. The principles of the design and construction of games and game worlds will be examined. Secondly, the subject of the psychological effects of games on the player will be broached. Thirdly and as the main point, the didactic potential of computer games will be explored in detail. The author presents ways of integrating games into teaching units, and further, the abilities and competences that can be enhanced by the use of digital games. Moreover, particular challenges and problems will be identified that arise when the use of a digital game in class is planned.   Auszug aus dem Text Text Sample: Chapter 4.1, What are Game Studies?: Go easy on the reasons. You thought I would be too hard to define (gregory & the hawk). In a study on youth, games and learning it is stated that the \debate around the value of games and gaming has been to date overly polemic and
Publisher: Hamburg : Diplomica Verlag, 2014
Edition: 1st ed
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9783954895687
Branch Call Number: Electronic book
Characteristics: 1 online resource (123 pages)
Additional Contributors: ProQuest (Firm)


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