Learning Games 2.0: What Web 2.0 Might Mean for Educational Games
The gaming industry is slowly realizing the potential of user generated content (King 2006, Van Zelfden 2007). The industry is attempting to integrate user generated content into their products and servces in different ways: new online games have built-in community features, gamers are now included in the creative process of level design for many games etc.
Making user content a core value of the business model springs from another phenomenon: Web 2.0. Web 2.0, a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2005 (O’Reilly 2005), refers to a perceived second generation of web-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users. In the period immediately following O’Reilly’s pronouncements in 2005, the discussion of Web 2.0 mainly focused on technical issues and for the most part took place within the web developers’ community. The big mass media breakthrough for Web 2.0 came in 2006; Time Magazine naming “You” the person of the year would be a typical example of this mainstream media attention to Web 2.0.
Critics of the term ‘Web 2.0’ consider it to be part of a general media hype and lacking in terms of formally defined characteristcs – or even just a marketing slogan for O’Reilly Media. Despite these criticisms, it is hard to ignore the growing role of user-generated content on the Web. The blogosphere widens every day, wikipedia is becoming an established institution of knowledge and many of the top downloaded video clips on YouTube are user generated.
The main question this paper is this: If “2.0 Games” are indeed the wave of the future, then what does that mean for learning games and serious games? Related questions also addressed in this paper include: Is “Web 2.0” too big and messy a concept to be useful for pedagogic/learning/educational games? Web 2.0 is supposedly based on requests and desires of customers, but are gamers interested in 2.0 games? In particular, are 2.0 games interesting for potential student-gamers?
The object of the paper is to present a practitioner’s view of how Web 2.0 ‘core values' apply to learning/educational games. How do you make learning games in the Web 2.0 era? What is a 2.0 game? This paper will try to establish what a ‘2. 0 game’ could be. What kind of qualities would it have, and what kind of play values would it create? The paper concludes by presenting some important considerations when designing learning 2.0 games.
The paper is based on analysis of secondary materials (including academic literature, industry research reports, blogs and video interviews).Ola Janson is a role-playing writer, game designer and programme director/teacher at the Game Architecture Advanced Vocational Education and Training Programme [KY-utbildningen i Spelakitektur], Academedia Educations, Gothenburg.
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