There’s a big difference between somebody playing a video game and the way they are thinking about it and somebody watching a video game – typically a parent watching a video game. They see guns and explosions and death and mayhem and they assume that’s an aggressive activity. The player’s point of view though is far more symbolic.

It’s almost like if you didn’t know anything about chess and you’re watching people play chess you would wonder, okay, why are these people pushing around these little pieces of wood all day? What’s the point in that? You’re not seeing the symbolic rules and strategy going on underneath. Even somebody playing a shooter they are actually thinking at a much higher level of abstract space. And they’re actually doing original problem solving within that space. How can I unlock this and go around that? I have to distract this guy first. — and it’s a very elaborate symbolic abstract puzzle they’re solving.

[…] No, they [passerbys] notice there are guns and shooting and a lot of explosions. They don’t see the abstract problem solving. If you look at any kid play a video game it’s interesting – you hand them the controller, they don’t read the manual, they don’t even ask you how to play the game. They start pressing buttons. What’s amazing is that even like a 7 year old when presented with a video game naturally exhibits the scientific method. They basically come up with a hypothosis about the way the game works, they experiment by trying something – pressing buttons – observe the results of the experiment, modify their behaviour, refine their model, their theory and so forth. So they’re naturally and very efficiently exhibiting the scientific method. And they’re able to absorb and reverse engineer incredibly complex systems very rapidly that way. And I think most parents when they are watching their 7 year olds play these games have no appreciation for this amazing process of learning the kids are going through.

Will Wright (on Star Talk)

Dienstag, 27 November 2012

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