“They poison the mind and corrupt the morals of the young, who waste their time sitting on sofas immersed in dangerous fantasy worlds.“ According to a leader in the January 20th edition of The Economist “that was the charge leveled against novels during the 18th century by critics worried about the impact of a new medium on young people.
“Today the idea that novels can harm people sounds daft […] Criticism of games is merely the latest example of a tendency to demonize new and unfamiliar […] In 1816 waltzing was condemned as a “fatal contagion” that encouraged promiscuity; in 1910 films were denounced as “an evil pure and simple, destructive of social interchange”; in the 1950’s rock ‘n roll music was said to turn young people into “devil worshipers” and comic books were accused of turning children into drug addicts and criminals.” Story continues here… (subscription required).
The deomonization of games is not my point here — in fact that’s old news and even Hilary Clinton seems to be coming around — but the controversy and dis-comfort around using the word “game” and “education” in the same sentence is. Those of us on point with serious games have seen and heard enough evidence that games are highly effective teaching tool that we’re putting our backs to building an industry. To get everyone else in the K-12 education space on board — administrators, curriculum directors, teachers and parents — we’ll need more proof than the (largely) anecdotal evidence we have today. Anyone want to accept the challenge?