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Video Games and Literacy

As far as I remember, the era of video games started with the launching of Atari during the seventies. Since then, game developers have been actively involved with the design and production of gaming consoles such as Nintendo, Play Station, and the conceptualization of numerous games, which have become part of the culture of the present generation. Following these developments are the establishment of games made available in computers and over the internet, and new game consoles such as the Xbox, Dreamcast, and the improvements done in Play Station and Nintendo consoles.

Ever since, the problem has been the game addiction of the younger generation to these game developments that at some point, parents and educational institutions are alarmed with the influences of this particular addiction to children’s schooling. One issue that was raised about video games is their role in the literacy of individuals. Several debates have long been the trend in determining whether video games do really pose advantages of disadvantages in literacy. The two points of video game literacy shall be discussed, as well as my stand regarding the matter, in the following paragraphs.

Children who play video games at an early age are exposed to seemingly complex language. An examples presented by Gee, that actually makes sense, is the term “Pokemon” which is the shortened version of the words “pocket monsters. ” There are several other complex words that children learn from video games, and these have helped them understand and gain deeper meaning from complex language. Moreover, Gee argues that the main problem for children in schools is their inability to understand complex language.

In short, video game play is helping these children go over these language barriers by teaching them complex language and its application to the real world. However, the participation of advisers to guide children in their understanding of complex language and its application in language use, is still needed. (Gee) The other side argued by Gardner is that although video games teach children complex language, these terms are only applicable to the world of video games and are only found in the gamer’s manual.

Moreover, these terms does not apply to the general complex language that appeals to, according to Gardner, the dreamers, humanists, and conversationalists. It does however, only apply to those who are engaged to video games as well. Application of complex language learned in the real world is far-fetched, since there are no seemingly determined connections between the complex language used in video games and in the real world. (Gardner) Since the two sides of the argument have been discussed, I would have to say I agree with Gardner on his points regarding the issue about video gaming and literacy.

Complex language that is learned from video games does not represent the totality of language that children should be learning in order to express and communicate with depth. There is still a difference between learning technical terms, that by the way, only applies to the world of video games, and learning meaningful language that are significant in establishing conversations and developing profound thoughts. Reading books that incites interest and consciousness within the mind, allows children to think beyond what is concrete and understand the importance of learning words that matter in reality.

Moreover, there are lots of words, meanings, metaphors, and ideas that one can learn, from reading books, doing research, and conversing with people, than depending learning on video games alone. Learning from video games is not really learning, such that learning is only needed for game play application. Beyond that, there is nothing meaningful obtained from video games regarding literacy.

Works Cited

Gee, James Paul. “What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning. ” CQ Researcher, Nov. 2006. Gardner, Howard. CQ Researcher, Nov. 2006.

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