Doing playing with museums

Interactive Games Make Museums A Place To Play>Interactive Games Make Museums A Place To Play – a small article on how games and ‘playfulness’ can be used by contemporary museums. No very informative, and yet interesting, because it points to the key lines of debates about the issue, so it worth to copy here a few quotes.

“[Jane] McGonigal [a very known game practitioner, currently with IFTF where she recently launched Superstruct, considered a breakthrough by some, and a total failure by some others ] says games make people happy — and she takes happiness very seriously. She’s come up with four elements she believes we all need to be happy: satisfying work, the experience of being good at something, time spent with people we like, and the chance to be a part of something bigger“.

I feel something crucial is missing here – for example, role-playing, and also a certain degree of other-worldliness we cherish in games so much. Plus, a development, growth, transformation even. From another side, these very four things can describe something not necessarily related to game, for example, any established community.

Games work better than most of reality because they give us clear instructions. We know exactly what we’re supposed to do,” McGonigal says. “They give us better feedback; you can’t be good at something unless you’re getting feedback … Gamers don’t mind criticism.”

Bit of a ‘hmm’ here; do we play chess only because of the rule-set clarity? Do we play tennis because of the same reason? A raid stage of the World of Warcraft?

“Why shouldn’t adults play games? [Because] It’s still the most effective way to learn and push our buttons to get information into our heads.”

This sounds nice, and I’d love to buy it, but still it looks more like a wishful thinking at the moment; as well as the following statement:

“Biologically, games are how we’re hard-wired to learn — that’s its evolutionary role.”

That cause an obvious “Wait, wait! Can we get a source, please?” Exactly because the gaming behavior of people were so diverse during their history, and across cultures, anchoring it with ‘biology’ makes it the weakest link of the argumentation.

“The fate of humanity hangs in the balance over whether we’re going to get crowds to do anything useful or not,” McGonigal says. “Are they going to put all of their cognitive bandwidth into virtual worlds, or are they going to contribute?”

Most notably, “putting cognitive bandwidth into virtual worlds” is directly juxtaposed to “contributing [into something good]”, as if they can’t be complimentary to each other .

As usual, the comments do bring few gems:

“It’s a shame how many millions of man hours are devoted to World of Warcraft when people could be using that time to accomplish something brilliant, something real.”

Let’s also agree that people sleep too much; a total waste of time.

“[McGonigal’s] need to reduce great art to a video game in order to get something out of it is a sad reflection of an ethos that had developed in our modern culture which is losing a sense of meaning and a deeper understanding of the world around us. I think she completely misses the point of art, which is to be pondered deeply, appreciated emotionally and allowed to speak to us through its color, texture and universality. It will be a sad day when the Pieta is reduced to a pawn in a cheesy fantasy consumer game to satisfy a generation of over-stimulated, Dopamine-addicted kids.”

At this moment I start hearing the voice of a colleague of mine, who is patting my shoulder and saying, with a characteristic condolatory voice, “You have to talk more often to real people”.

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