I don’t play games. The last ‘sophisticated’ computer game I played was Doom® in one of its last century/millenium versions. When I say ‘played’ I mean being kind of hooked to the game, dedicating time to it every day. We barely played at any so-called social games at my parents’, when I was a child. I remember we had a game of Monopoly® we, my siblings and I, rather enjoyed playing with but even that lasted, what, a few years.
Walking through a vast network of medieval streets and houses, it’s easy to get lost. Luckily, I can fly. So I can see that up ahead, a team is building a castle with parapets and a wide moat. Someone next to me is posting signs with historical facts about the city. In outlying areas, people tend farms and raise livestock. Below, another team is creating a vast network of dungeons and prison cells. I’m in Minecraft, of course—the phenomenally popular, open-ended game that places players in a world in which they can live and build things infinitely. via MinecraftEdu Takes Hold in Schools | School Library Journal.
My friend is exasperated with her younger sister, who’s been crashing on her couch. Recently she asked her sibling to get up early to let the electrician in, but the sister slept through the appointed hour. She’d been up until dawn, playing World of Warcraft.
What was she doing for so long inside the game?, I wondered. She might have been counting out bloody coins for a nice new tabard, or sifting through Silverpines in search of spellbooks. Maybe she was extracting a gas cloud for raw motes a kind of raw resource, or taming sporewalkers a type of beast. Or maybe she’d been chatting with some other player, one encountered among the 6.8 million that inhabit the Warcraft universe. These are all things you can do to develop your character, build relationships, and make money there.
“When will she learn?” my friend groaned. But some researchers are asking an inverse question: What can the real world learn from what’s happening in virtual ones?
Massively multi-player online games MMOs like Warcraft, EVE Online, or Everquest are synthetic environments, but they function in ways that parallel real ones, socially and economically.
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