More thoughts on video games

I’ve read a couple of interesting videogame related items in the past few weeks – it is times like this that I wish I could assign followup reading to students after they leave a class.
I liked this weblog post about recent research into the correlation between videogames and violence not just for the links to some current research, but because of the critiquing of the papers and the general conversation about video game violence going on right now. While I’m not entirely on board with the post’s undercurrent of sceptibility about any psychological research, there are some really interesting points about the lack of consistency in what is being considered “aggression” when assessing children’s behavior and particularly the question of whether one should distinguish between slight aggression versus actual violent actions. I also like the idea that if violent video games are harmful, they are not harmful equally and in the same way for all children, but that the degree of harm is relative to certain other psychological characteristics of the child.
If you are interested in gaming, you might be interested to know that a book I’ve heard mentioned a few places, but not read myself yet, is now available online: This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities by Jim Rossignol. It is about gaming culture, and with an international perspective. I’ll probably read this at some point this summer.
I can’t write about recent discussions of videogames without referencing Roger Ebert’s statement earlier in the spring that video games can never be art, his subsequent article saying that he does not have personal experience playing video games and so while he continues to hold the same opinion he grants that he is not coming from a place of educated knowledge, and his most recent article discussing the results of his “completely unscientific survey” of whether people would prefer a great video game over Huckleberry Finn, which ultimately becomes a discussion of the value of reading well and loving reading – a discussion I particularly appreciate from someone so strongly associated in the world’s mind with film.

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