Academic journal article Education Research International

The Effect of an Educational Computer Game for the Achievement of Factual and Simple Conceptual Knowledge Acquisition

Academic journal article Education Research International

The Effect of an Educational Computer Game for the Achievement of Factual and Simple Conceptual Knowledge Acquisition

Article excerpt

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Recommended by Hui-Chun Chu

Applied Media and Simulation Games Center, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), 130 Stouffer Building, Indiana, PA 15705, USA

Received 10 July 2012; Revised 20 September 2012; Accepted 7 November 2012

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Introduction

Games are part of our contemporary culture. Social science scholars have agreed that games are not a new phenomenon [ 1] and that the diffusion of games to the masses was a result of initiatives conducted by the Department of Defense to simulate political military crises, for example, Polish nationalistic uprising, Cold War, and the pro-Castro movement in the early 80s [ 2, 3]. Today, games are more than military strategy tools. They are an element of culture.

Since their adoption, however, video games have both fascinated and produced fear among the public at large. Part of this fear has been attributed to Reagan's remarks tying video games to the Cold War. In the same era, U.S Surgeon General, Everett Koop, stated that games were among the highest health risks in America [ 4].

In the 20th century, fear of games was a widespread phenomenon, especially because of its connection to violence [ 5]. In the 21st century, video games are now a widespread phenomenon throughout several generations of Americans [ 6], despite the comments made by politicians and government officials in the early 80s. Even though the first generation video games had adults as its main target audience, games are no longer exclusive to adults [ 7]. In America today, close to 145 million individuals play games [ 6] and half of the entire video game market is composed of children under the age of 12 [ 8]. Although we do not know the precise number of children who are game players in the United States, it seems reasonable to accept that a fair amount exists.

According to Cartstens and Beck [ 9], 75% of corporate managers under the age of 34 play games and employees ages 34 or older have game experience. These findings might be the reason why DELL, HP, and Apple include games as part of their operating systems. Games are so popular today that more people buy games than movies [ 9].

Games have changed our society due to their impact on our economy [ 9]. In the United States alone, gaming is a growing billion dollar industry. However, research about the effects of games has been quite limited. Several social science researchers [ 10] have called for more vigorous research involving games, due to its increasing popularity. I agree that more research in games in general is necessary. I argue, however, that more research on the impact of games on learning is more pressing.

2. Popularity of Games: Sudden Shift in Computer Game Markets

Even though the first generation video games had adults as its main target audience, games are no longer exclusive to adults [ 7]. With the introduction of Atari in the 70s and 80s and Nintendo and Sega in the 80s and 90s, the game market became focused on children. The main reason for such a shift was because the teenagers of the 70s and 80s were looking at more mature content in game playing [ 11]. In the early 1990s Nintendo targeted this market by introducing the Mario series, an approach that revolutionized the industry because games looked more cartoon-like and not as violent. This was quite appealing to children and as importantly, was not intimidating for parents. The market became children oriented and parent supported [ 11]. Nintendo in the 1990s was the Disney of the gaming world [ 11]. In addition to its shift in market emphasis, Nintendo published Nintendo Power , which in the 90s became the biggest selling kid's magazine in the world.

Because of the Mario series and the Nintendo Power magazine, Nintendo became a part of a child's culture beyond games [ 12]. …

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