Friday, 13 July 2012

Serious Games are an old concept

It's time for an interesting history lesson. Some are of the opinion that the present educational system is archaic. I agree that it can be improved of, but recognize that is has brought global society quite far. Most of it is still based on unfounded didactic principles upheld in teaching since ancient Greece, like learning by heart for example.

Games as societal integrated learning devices, I argue, are an old concept as well. The origin of serious games can be traced to at least 1794 with "Upon the Aesthetic Education of Man" writen by Friedrich Schiller.

I haven't read the book yet but I surely will. It is partly supposed to be about "play as a force of civilization, which helps humans exit their animal conditions and aspire to become members of enlightened communities" .
A vision I atleast subscribe to.

Now let us go a bit further into past to find a new future with the words of Schiller "Live with your century but do not be its creature.". Because an aspiring vision of serious games in the future can be read in the brilliant short story "Mimsy Were the Borogroves" by Lewis Padgett  (the movie adaptation is quite sappy though). Basically it's about a boy and his younger sister accidentally stumbling across toys from a far away future. These toys are games that supposedly train and condition children in the future to allow connection with a society that we are not able to conceive of yet. The younger sister is even a better player than her older brother, because due to her age she has a larger capacity for learning new structure.

In short; serious games have a serious position in philosophy and can be tied to seriously astounding visions of the future. How's that for a history lesson.

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