As you and I both know, video gaming has no redeeming qualities, and certainly not MMORPGs, which are well known to lead to carpal-tunnel syndrome, the heartbreak of psoriasis and the rising price of lima beans.
However, it’s nice to see that some are finally starting to notice some of the positive influences that come from MMOs. Constance Steinkuehler, described by the article at Wired magazine as “a game academic at the University of Wisconsin” (which is code for “Hib hates you for having the perfect job and hopes you develop the heartbreak of psoriasis”) has written a research paper on the fact that the best players in MMOs become so by using….ready for this?…the scientific method.
She and her co-author, Sean Duncan, downloaded the content of 1,984 posts in 85 threads in a discussion board for players of World of Warcraft.
More than half the gamers used “systems-based reasoning” — analyzing the game as a complex, dynamic system. And one-tenth actually constructed specific models to explain the behavior of a monster or situation; they would often use their model to generate predictions. Meanwhile, one-quarter of the commentors would build on someone else’s previous argument, and another quarter would issue rebuttals of previous arguments and models.
Of course, I doubt if a majority of raiders are even aware of utilizing the founding principle of almost all human scientific development…but then again, sometimes you learn the best when you’re not aware you’re being taught. For example, see if you learn anything from two of the comments on that Wired post:
I also find the authors remarks interesting, but I think the academic is deceiving herself. If she truly believes an addicting and socially damaging activity such as this is in the least bit beneficial she is at best misguided at worst stupid.
What video games can accomplish and what schools can accomplish are two very different things and no responsible academic would ever seriously try to make this comparison. This is tabloid journalism poorly masquerading as scholarship.
Now, what did we learn from these comments, made under an article wherein* an academic game player conducted research, analyzed her findings and concluded that MMORPGs teach scientific processes, and as a result are doing a better job at that in her opinion than science classes?
That’s right! We learned quite a few of the people that vocally think video gaming makes you stupid…should probably play a few more games.
Steinkuehler (which is German for “you’ll have to cut and paste this one unless you’re better than Hib”) met with one young person that had compiled a spreadsheet with a particular boss’ data (collected over several raids) that enabled him to determine the best way to take him down, and Wired reports she had this exchange:
“Do you realize that what you’re doing is the essence of science?” she asked.
He smiled at her. “Dude, I’m not doing science,” he replied. “I’m just cheating the game!”
And that’s what science is…cheating “the game”, which in this case is “what we consider to be the physical principles of the universe”.
This also means that we should ban the inventor of television from the universe for hacking, but I suppose that’s a given.
* The use of the word “wherein” indicates that this is, despite all appearances, an educated post, filled with scholarly observations. This, of course, makes it stand waaaaay the heck out from the rest of this site. I apologize, and promise to try to work more posts about night elf porn into things in the near future, since that’s my top keyword at Google, and it may distract me from the flashbacks I’m now having about my once-thriving Master Weaponsmith’s business in SWG, and the spreadsheets and data tables I still have from those days. Sigh.