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Video Games as Useful Media: A Multiplayer Perspective
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Play Your Video Games! This Exclamation May Become More Common as Researchers from video game studies, education, and many other disciplines have increasingly considered how this often-derided medium may in fact be amongst the most valuable of “useful” media. The deep interactive “immersion” that leads some to question the negative effects of video games may also be the key to unlocking new forms of creative learning and expression. Video games in educational and institutional settings promise a new venue not only for delivering information but also for changing the way people interact with information. By activating the link between play, learning, creativity, and a whole host of valuable skills, video games have been perceived as an exciting new frontier for solving problems using media. For this dossier, we asked several noted video game scholars and researcher/practitioners about what they felt had been successful employments of video games as useful media to date and where they felt such employment might go in the future.

The answers we received reflected the vibrancy and variability of this growing field. Whether practically or theoretically approached, video games have proven to be much more than outlets for meaningless “fun.” Some contributors pointed us to educational problems that could be uniquely solved by gaming, while others challenged us to question the entire nature of “useful” media and to embrace wasteful play. Particularly valuably, our contributors pushed beyond the model of media as distributor of content to consider how this form of media may indeed be most useful in its role as facilitator of new and intriguing social dynamics. Considering video games’ impact less in terms of what is learned and instead in how the nature of learning changes, our contributors considered how video games as useful media affected not only how learners interacted with media but also the ways in which they interacted with one another. This, they suggested, may ultimately be one of the most useful functions of video games.

We hope that our readers enjoy these pieces and are challenged to think about the potential of video games in new ways. Thank you to all of our contributors for their thoughtful participation.


What Games Are We Playing? by Elisabeth Hayes.


Video Games Are Hard:: Communal Play and Changing the Classroom by Christopher A. Paul.


Power of Play:: Exploring Computational Thinking Through Game Design by Gabriella Anton and Amanda Barany.


Playing to Lose:: On Video Games, Excess, and Expenditure by Liel Leibovitz.

Copyright © 2013 University of Texas Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Kyra Hunting. and Andrew Zolides. "Video Games as Useful Media: A Multiplayer Perspective." The Velvet Light Trap 72.1 (2013): 72-76. Project MUSE. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Hunting, K. & Zolides, A.(2013). Video Games as Useful Media: A Multiplayer Perspective. The Velvet Light Trap 72(1), 72-76. University of Texas Press. Retrieved August 26, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Kyra Hunting and Andrew Zolides. "Video Games as Useful Media: A Multiplayer Perspective." The Velvet Light Trap 72, no. 1 (2013): 72-76. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed August 26, 2013).
T1 - Video Games as Useful Media: A Multiplayer Perspective
A1 - Kyra Hunting
A1 - Andrew Zolides
JF - The Velvet Light Trap
VL - 72
IS - 1
SP - 72
EP - 76
PY - 2013
PB - University of Texas Press
SN - 1542-4251
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/the_velvet_light_trap/v072/72.hunting.html
N1 - Number 72, Fall 2013
ER -


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