Lecture: Dissecting the game- video game genres, game mechanics and connection between games and learning

on April 7th, 2013 I gave a talk about video games to educators working at CET israel.
these guys know nothing about gaming but know everything about education and teaching. they also understood that there is something about the game that catches the kids like nothing else before.

this is a lecture for listeners who never played video games before. it tries to explain why people love to play so much, why players get so involved; why do they play more than they watch TV; what happens inside the game that leaves the player with a feeling of "i want more"?
when you listen closely, you'll hear a lot of psychology and neurology.

Outlines of the lecture:

  1. What is a game? what is the difference between a game and a toy or between a game and a movie? we'll try to get a clear definition.
  2. Video game genres. video games have genres, much like any other type of media. actually, the genres are much easier to define. we will discover the secret of each genre, where is the fun in playing it and which players would play that genres.
  3. Game design literacy. these are the professional terms game developers and gamers use to define games. understanding these terms will help you grasp the components of the game and their meaning to creating the experience. you'll see that there is tremendous importance to how the user learns to play. knowing the right terms would allow you to speak with game developers and better define your game to them. this will also assist you with better defining your game.
  4. Where games and learning connect? where are the similarities between the two areas? we'll see that educational content areas, like: physics, biology and business management (and there are many more), already exist in nowadays video games. we'll talk on the psychology behind the game and interesting neurology facts happenning in the player's mind. what is Gamification and how we can create something like it?


interesting questions rose from the audience that day. i would write articles about these subjects, so stay tuned. here are some:
  • Do violent games not promoting violent people? 
  • Are games detached from the reality? do players see their in-game characters as themselves? do players experience their in-game character's pain as their own?
  • How can we incorporate simulation typed games, such as SimCity and RollerCoasterTycoon, into the classroom?
  • How can in-game achievements and side-goals shape and determine the game culture? Can games teach moral codes?
  • and many more.