Playfulness and Seriousness: The Power of Video Games to Teach and Enhance Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

Playfulness and Seriousness: The Power of Video Games to Teach and Enhance Cultural Intelligence (CQ)

Elena Shliakhovchuk (The Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9775-9.ch001

Abstract

Despite the early focus on the demonizing of video games, in the 1990s some researchers suggested that video games might help in developing some useful skills and might convert in a new method of learning. At the beginning of the 21st century, researchers came to the conclusions that video games are more than a source of fun, relaxation, and distraction, but they are stages for the discourse on cultural, social, and political practices and systems that foster conceptual and critical thinking on a wide variety of issues. The 21st century gamers themselves confessed that games have an impact on the way they think, the way they learn, and the way they see the world.
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Introduction

Video games have transformed the way in which people spend their time. They have become one of the most popular and common forms of entertainment, with a global market value of $135 billion, showing a steady growth of 10.9% compared with 2017 (Global Games Market Report, 2016) For example, League of Legends generated revenue amounting to 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2017.

There are more than 2.5 billion video gamers worldwide ​​playing approximately three billion hours weekly. The average male gamer is 33 years old and the average female gamer 37 years (ESA, 2018). Sixty-one per cent of senior executives take daily breaks at work to play digital games (McGonigal, 2011). Sixty-four per cent of the general U.S. population are gamers (Nielson, 2017), most of whom will have spent ten thousand hours playing by their twenty-first birthday (McGonigal, 2011). Of the most frequent gamers, 75% believe playing video games provides mental stimulation or education. In turn, parents see digital media as providing a variety of educational benefits and say video games are a positive part of their children's lives (Common Sense Media & & the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, 2008).

Games are not just played; they are also talked and read about. The most discussed game in 2016 was Overwatch, with more than 75,000 online articles mentioning the game (Statista, 2017). Call of Duty: World at War, Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty Black Ops count 24.37 million fans (Fan Page List, 2018). Stories have hit the headlines of people dying from dehydration while playing non-stop for more than 50 hours, or a skill from World of Warcraft saving the lives of a nine-year-old and his grandparent (in mass media). Video games have also their “and the award goes to ...” events (for example, festival.gamesforchange.org)

Modern games are immersive, complex, diverse and engaging, and their influence on society and people is far-reaching. Video games are now “central nodes in the organisation of contemporary leisure culture, computer-mediated interaction, visual culture, and information societies’’ (Simon, 2006, p. 64). Gamers themselves confess that games impact the way they see the world, the way they think, and the books they read (Bourgonjon, Vandermeersche, De Wever, Soetaert, & Valcke, 2016).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Game Studies: The flourishing interdisciplinary scholarly field that studies video game influence on society in general and on players in particular.

AAA Video Games: Commercial entertainment games with large design, development and marketing budgets.

MMORPG: Massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

Video Game: A game that requires the use of a video game console or an electronic device accompanying the screen, and which may involve some degree of physical action and interaction.

Games For Change: Digital games aiming to change players’ behavior or attitudes.

IVET: Immersive virtual environment technology.

Informal Learning: Knowledge acquisition happening outside the institutional school system.

Digital Games: A blanket term covering video, computer, mobile and social-media games.

Digital Learning: Technology used in instructional practice for the purpose of knowledge acquisition.

New Media: Computers and the Internet used for providing entertainment, communication, and products.

Serious Games: Games designed for purposes other than fun and entertainment, with a specific aim to educate.

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