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14/01/2007

Les jeux vidéo nous rendent-ils conformistes ?

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It feels preposterous and yet believable to suggest that the adaptive nature of video games might be one reason for the rise of the Organization Kid, a term coined by David Brooks when he visited with Princeton students for a 2001 Atlantic Monthly story.

 

"They're not trying to buck the system; they're trying to climb it," Brooks wrote of the respectful, deferential students he met. A Princeton sociology professor Brooks interviewed could have been describing ideal soldiers when he said of his students, "They're eager to please, eager to jump through whatever hoops the faculty puts in front of them, eager to conform."

 

Brooks summarized the love-the-power worldview of the Organization Kid like this: "There is a fundamental order to the universe, and it works. If you play by its rules and defer to its requirements, you will lead a pretty fantastic life." That's a winner's ideology: Follow orders, and you'll be just fine.

 

Whether you find the content of video games inoffensive or grotesque, their structure teaches players that the best course of action is always to accept the system and work to succeed within it. "Games do not permit innovation," Koster writes.

 

"They present a pattern. Innovating out of a pattern is by definition outside the magic circle. You don't get to change the physics of a game." Nor, when a computer is the referee, do you get to challenge the rules or to argue about their merits. That isn't to say that there aren't ways to innovate from within the system.

 

Gamers are famous for coming up with creative approaches to the problems a game presents. But devising a new, unexpected strategy to succeed under the existing rules isn't the same thing as proposing new rules, new systems, or new patterns.

 

Our video-game brains, trained on success machines, may be undergoing a Mr. Universe workout, one that leaves us stronger but less flexible. So don't worry that video games are teaching us to be killers. Worry instead that they're teaching us to salute.

 

[ UTNE ] 

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