You are good at games, you just don’t want to be

Studying games based learning means I tend to encounter the phrase ‘I’m no good at games’ a fair bit. The problem I have with it is I’m not sure it is possible.

What people who say this actually mean is any one or more of the following:

1) I am intimidated by computers or don’t want to learn

Needs no explanation, we’ve all seen it. In this example ‘no good’ translates quite nicely as ‘don’t want to try’. It’s about motivation.

I’ll cite my Grandad as case in point. He doesn’t want a mobile phone because he’s no good at ‘technology’, but he can achieve the kind of magic with the cricket on his Sky+ box that I can only dream of.

2) I consider gaming to be a somehow lower form of entertainment

This one might be a little bit specific to the shire of white middle class England I live in, but there’s a social divide in play.

You can test this out for yourself. Next time the ‘what did you do at the weekend’ question comes up in a peer group try alternating your responses between:

  1. I got my hunter up to level 20 in WoW.
  2. We went to the new Titanic exhibition at the city museum and I finally got round to finishing Obama book.

3) I’ve forgotten that ‘games’ is a wider field than that shooting thing my son likes

There’s no question that electronic gaming has got popular. The problem is that people tend to generalise based on what they see in the media. Talk about gaming and our first points of reference are either first person shooters and how they are encouraging little Jonny to go all Black Hawk Down on his school or that weird kid who stays up all night doing strange things with orcs.

Gaming is a massive field. It includes those board games you used to love and still make me play at Christmas, the whole of the sports world, even those stupid games you play with yourself on the commute to work or with the receptionist in your building.

I refuse to accept that anybody can be bad at Every Game.

4) I feel the need to project myself as a serious grown up

This is very similar to 2), but needs a section of it’s own. At what point in our lives do we stop playing?

Early childhood play is about learning. Go to school and learning becomes work and play what we’re allowed to do afterwards. As ‘serious’ adults do we spend time playing? Would you be prepared to tell your friends in the book group you’ve been playing? Why not?

5) I want to stop this conversation as soon as possible and talk to somebody here who is less geeky

Potentially more a reflection on me rather than the wider subject…

Image source- PS3 Controller by Chi

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