Games and Learning/Topics/Games Theory

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How do we understand a game? How do we analyse it, categorise it, and interpret it?

Games as "Theater of the Oppressed"

Gonzalo Frasca's proposal to design games that implement the ideas of Freire and Boal.


Oliver, M. & Pelletier, C. (2005), 'The things we learned on Liberty Island: designing games to help people become competent game players', Proceedings of DIGRA2005.

The relationship between games and learning has, predominantly, either treated games as potential educational content or only considered the social contexts of learning from games at a general level. A methodology has been developed that permits the detailed analysis of how people learn from particular instances of game play. This is used to study two approaches to playing Deus Ex, one involving the training level and one neglecting this. The study reveals what players learnt, the playing strategies they developed, the way in which these strategies evolved and also how previous experience was transferred to this new context. Conclusions are drawn about the value of training levels and the importance of designing games in a way that recognizes previous gaming experience. The study also has implications for defining game genres, for decisions about the inclusion of design features such as quick saves and for the design of AI scripts.

Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2006), 'Overview of research on the educational use of video games', Digital Kompetanse 1 (3) , 184-213.

This paper overviews research on the educational use of video games by examining the viability of the different learning theories in the field, namely behaviorism, cognitivism, constructionism and the socio-cultural approach. In addition, five key tensions that emerge from the current research are examined: 1 Learning vs. playing, 2 freedom vs. control, 3 drill-and-practice games vs. microworlds, 4 transmission vs. construction, 5 teacher intervention vs. no teacher intervention.

Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S.; Smith, J. H. & Tosca, S. P. (2008), Understanding video games: the essential introduction, Taylor & Francis. /