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24/07/2006

Saving the World, One video Game At A Time

Je ne suis pas le seul a être intrigué par la vague de jeu ayant pour thème le conflit Israélo-Palestinien, preuve s’il en est que ce conflit – au même titre que la guerre du Vietnam – alimente tout les fantasmes.

 

Voici ce que le New York Times en dit :

 

Together they have found some seriously high-powered backers. Last year the MacArthur Foundation began issuing grants to develop persuasive games, including a $1.5 million joint gift to James Paul Gee, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin, and GameLab, a New York firm that designs games. Meanwhile the United Nations has released Food Force, a game that helps people understand the difficulties of dispensing aid to war zones. Ivan Marovic, co-founder of Otpor (Resistance) — the Serbian youth movement widely credited with helping to oust Slobodan Milosevic — helped produce A Force More Powerful, a game that teaches the principles of nonviolent strategy. And the third annual Games for Change conference in New York, held earlier this month, attracted academics and nonprofit executives, including several from the World Bank and the United Nations.

 

What everyone’s realizing is that games are really good at illustrating complex situations,” said Suzanne Seggerman, one of the organizers of the conference. “And we have so many world conflicts that are at a standstill. Why not try something new? Especially where it concerns young people, you have to reach them on their own turf. You think you’ll get their attention reading a newspaper or watching a newscast? No way.”

 

Henry Jenkins, an M.I.T. professor who studies games and learning, said the medium has matured along with the young people who were raised on it. “The generation that grew up with Super Mario is entering the workplace, entering politics, so they see games as just another good tool to use to communicate,” he added. “If games are going to be a mature medium, they’re going to serve a variety of functions. It’s like with film. We think first of using it for entertainment, but then also for education and advertising and politics and all that stuff.”

 

This is the central conceit behind all these efforts: that games are uniquely good at teaching people how complex systems work. “You could have some big theory about society, but these days it’s like, sorry, people aren’t going to read your white paper on it,” said Ian Bogost, an assistant professor at the George Institute of Technology, whose book on serious games will be published next spring by M.I.T. Press. “Put it in a game, and they’ll discover what you’re talking about themselves.”

 

[ N.Y. Times ] 


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