Finding of the week #5

Gamers: No fear of failure

During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!

This week: I read the book „Reality is broken“ [1]. Jane McGonigal gathered a lot of information about how computer games might change ourselves and improve our world. The author shows how computer games can solve real-world problems and suggests that computer gamers can become extraordinary problem solvers and collaboration experts.
This „finding of the week“ – due to lack of time – is a very short one and presents my special thoughts about solving a „certain problem“.

We learn how to play by carefully observing what the game allows us to do and how it responds to our input. As a result, most gamers never read game manuals.“ ([1], p.26) This is one thing, gamers are really getting used to it. Often a game offers a short tutorial to teach them the most important facts: How they can move in the virtual world or how they can intertact with entities of the game. The user interface is often quite similar within a particular genre. Thus gamers getting used to certain symbols and their meaning.
During gameplay, gamers are playing from scratch: Principle of trial and error! If some way isn’t the right one, players are encouraged to try another one until they exhause the challenge. Only if they feel to be stuck forever, they start searching the internet for a possible solution of their particular problem.

This attitude also comes into play when gamers are using other types of software or trying to tweak their computers: They don’t bother reading manuals at first, they just begin with the search for known symbols in the interface of the software. Saving the current project is often illustrated with a floppy disk. A printer icon is in most cases the printing function. And if not … trial and error again.
Therefore computer gamers do often have a deep knowledge about computer related issues because they’ve already experienced a lot. They seem to be the perfect problem solver if a printer refuses to print.

Well, they probably are … but! … everyone can get this knowledge too. Gamers aren’t perfoming magic. They just take advantage of the trial and error principle.

To wrap things up: Gamers teach us to approach things without the fear of failure. And as long as it is related to the use of a computer, the undo-function helps a lot to noodle around. Except for formatting, deleting, placing magnets near hdds, any water related problems, etc.

[1] McGonigal, Jane (2011): Reality Is Broken, New York.