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Digital Games as Desire-Fulfilling Devices

In Becoming ruminative in education on October 16, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Digital games are complex systems that can provide an array of sensory stimuli to catalyze thinking and learning among players.  Although definitions may vary, digital games offer visual and audio information that both emotionally and perceptually, engage one or more players, accept input from players, engage players socially, and provide immediate feedback loop for player actions based on predetermined programmed rules.

This above is one way to define digital games.  There is another much more succinct way to define digital games, i.e., they are desire-fulfilling devices for people of kinds.  In short, people meet their respective desire to destroy or to create with digital game play.

Human were born natural hunters in the early ages and with the advancement of destructive tools, human aggressiveness has taken on another form of representation, a psychological state, that of the desire to deconstruct or destroy.  Human are constantly torn by an array of emotions, negative and positive, and actions were executed based off of these mixtures of emotions.  When in anger or discontent, we swear, taunt, avenge, or squeeze bubble mailers to quench our temperament.  When in satisfaction or exultation, we rejoice, share, smile, or buy people drinks to spread good will.  These emotions in action carried out through daily life routines help us manage feelings and prevent us from doing harmful things to oneself or to others.

In digital games, a lot of what we do involves deconstruction.  Game players chase and annihilate enemies, destroy and bomb constructions. The virtual environment in digital games afforded us players the opportunity to do things that seem almost unreal in reality, even though in real life we may not approve of such violent behaviors.  Nonetheless, it is the virtuality in digital games that frees up player imagination and allows players to do the unreal within certain boundaries defined by a specific game and its rules.

Digital gaming has been known to be a male-dominant activity for long but in recent years with the blossoming of social media based games, people of variant ages and women players have dramatically increased.  It begs the question, “Do digital games make people more violent or less violent?”   Research has been done to approve and disapprove both camps.  While I intend to be neutral, my stand with this gaming-to-violence issue leans toward the side that digital games are venues through which players can vent their negativities so as to appease violent intentions, if any.  My personal experience playing FPS does not lead me to fantasize killing people in the public using massive weaponry.  For gamers, we play for the thrill and for the visual/audio stimuli otherwise would not afforded by games.  We do not mix gaming environment with reality, and that makes gaming so much more fun and gravitating.

On the other hand, we also play games to create.  For instance, game design tools or the Sim Series allow players a blank slate upon which they can freely splash colors of creativity and build game spaces tinged with individual style and preferences.  In-game action may or may not reflect personal inclinations and design activities adds another layer of depth to digital game play.  With the desire to create, gamers nowadays are given the chance to design and to hone in on their problem solving skills.  Much like anything else we encounter in our course of life, things can be good or bad contingent upon a set of conditions.

Digital games promote not just destruction but also creation, and it is up to the player with the keyboard/game controller to decide which course of action he/she so chooses to pursue.

My area of research interest and expertise lies in digital game-based learning.  Serious games is a field of study that attempts to promote learning of politics, advertisement, business, healthcare, language,  and many more topics.  For me personally, games are entertaining and they fulfill the desires I have while impersonating different avatars in different game genres.  Digital games can be good and bad and we should all be aware and open-minded toward gaming and its potential effects.

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