Video Games: New Art and Education for the 21st Century

This week airing on most of our PBS stations is an episode featuring Pete Parsons, the Chief Operating Officer for the video game maker Bungie. Our conversation is about their latest game, Destiny, published by Activision, which already has 9.5 million unique online players daily.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
This week airing onmost of our PBS stations is an episode featuring Pete Parsons, the Chief Operating Officer for the video game maker Bungie. Our conversation is about theirlatest game, Destiny, published byActivision, which already has 9.5 million unique online players daily.
Our discussionfocuses on the philosophical and sociological underpinnings of the game and howit resembles many of the same issues we face in life.
Plus, if we peerdeeper into the world of video games we see how this field is becoming thenewest art form of our time. Moreover, if we dial the microscope up a notch wecan also see how it can aid in one of the most important issues our societyfaces - the improvement of our educational system. In addition to this, wejust might shatter the misconceived myths about the culture of gaming.
First, I mustconfess that I am not a "Gamer." However, my sons, daughter-in-law and almostall their friends are into some form of video gaming and have since they first held a controller in their tiny hands.
My youngest son, who isa film maker and works with me on my show and this blog, was the first to suggest I explorethe world of video games, especially in regards to their story telling andcinematic art form, which is reaching new levels of sophistication and excellence.
My oldest son, whohas an M.A. in Education and is the Coordinator of Curriculum and Technologyfor a public school system, is also very involved in developing the use of "Gamification" in education. Gamification is the process of using gamemechanics and game thinking in non-gaming contexts to engage users and to solveproblems.
Now, just toreassure you, although my sons and their friends are avid gamers, they are alsoavid readers and enjoy many forms of expression from dance to music to film andalmost all genres within each medium.
In fact, even theSmithsonian is getting into the act. A recent exhibit titled: The Art of Video Games, explored theevolution of video games as an artistic medium especially in the relationshipbetween the technology, art and the narrative form of storytelling.
In Destiny, the game featured on the show this week,our discussion's focus is not only on the art and story, but on the importanceof collaboration. In fact, without real time teamwork amongst players it is impossible to reach the highest levels of the game.
So if you think thatvideo games are a major cause of violence or a passive couch potato vice, it is time to reevaluate and realize that this form ofentertainment might soon become one of our highest forms of art and education.
I have personallywitnessed the advantage that my own children have experienced (both of them are well adjusted, sociable, and good men - despite my obvious bias).
Themore I feature video games on the show - the first time was my conversation with Neil Druckmann and his creation The Last of Us - the more I too see how they are an amazing art form and potentialtool for expanding our minds.
Yes, too much ofanything, and I MEAN anything, is not a panacea for anything. But, it is timeto vanquish the fears of this technological art and embrace the benefits.
Educator, gametheorist and designer James Portnow credits video games with creating a senseof agency: that choices really matter in life, and that failure after failureis often the path to real learning, achievement and an overall life experienceof success.
And, as my guestthis week so eloquently states:
It's that unpredictable human element that creates the most importantmoments.
-Pete Parsons-
So fear not humans.The machines are not taking over. We are learning how to better use them forour own education, artistic expression and entertainment.
Enjoy the show andthe game of life,

Go To Homepage

Popular in the Community