Video Games – Developing The Ultimate Experience
A game is a structured type of playing, usually undertaken primarily for fun or entertainment, and at times used as an instructional tool. In the context of education, games are very different from homework, which is typically done for remuneration. In homework, students spend a great deal of time putting together a puzzle, formulating it in many possible ways, working hard to complete it, and then coming back to it to verify their work. In many cases, this is quite hard work; indeed, many students find that they become depressed or anxious when they realise that their work has been thoroughly discussed and not just toyed with during their free time.
One example of an educational game in the classroom would be a game such as the well-known Backgammon. Invented by the Chinese over two thousand years ago, Backgammon is one of the most popular games played in the world. Players compete against each other using a simple rectangular board. Each player controls a race of clay birds, called pawns, on a hexagonal grid. The objective of the game is for the players to eliminate all of the other clay birds, called pawns, from their ten open squares on the board.
Chris Crawford, PhD, teaches that there are many different types of competitive gaming, including sports gaming. He defines sports gaming as “a competitive game played in contact with members of one’s own social group, sport, or nation.” Crawford’s definition of a sport includes games like American football, tennis, basketball, ice skating, swimming, sailing, or track and field. He goes on to say that “an active participation by the participants in the game makes the activity meaningful and involves social comparisons.” In his view, therefore, the game design concept of the twenty-five centimeter cube board game with one player on the left and the other player on the right is a sport because both players are participating and influencing the outcome.
In his book, The Twenty-Five Centimeter Game, Crawford demonstrates how this concept of a game can be expanded to include the idea of having competitors climb the obstacle course and make use of the physics engine to do so. Using the same idea of making the obstacles grow in size and with a feedback system, he was able to develop his popular children’s game, Rayman Origins. The first version of the game was programmed only for an inner-city school’s computer network. As the popularity of the game grew, however, it was introduced to a wider audience through the Nintendo Game Boy.
In the early nineties, video games began to appear on television sets, arcade games became more popular, and racing games became even more complicated. However, the influence of the personal computer game on the world of sport and recreation has been profound. Today, computer games feature extremely realistic graphics, extremely lifelike physics, and the ability to create and share virtual reality. Even younger players have taken to the world of online flash games, making possible a level of realism in video gaming that was previously impossible.