Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time I worked with a magical 60 year old fairy. She saved me from the mundane tasks I was hired to perform and charged me with studying the field of video game education.
Suddenly, work became almost pleasant and thoughts of suicide (through suffocation by books) were pushed to the back of my subconscious. Little did I know, the Middle East was secretly and silently watching, waiting for a moment to pounce and destroy my happiness.
With the fairy behind me, I organized a presentation on video games and education for librarians across the country (or at least East Coast). Despite my inability to articulate my thoughts coherently during the question and answer sessions (though it may have been academics inability to ask questions that weren’t abstruse and pompous), the overall presentation was successful enough to secure me tickets to E3 in Los Angeles.
Oddly enough, E3 sucked more than expected but LA less. Upon returning home, the fairy and I contemplated our next move; she wanted to take our games and education show on the road. I imagined the billboard at Times Square — “Jason and Magical Fairy talk about video games in education and because you’re old and dumb, you are interested.”
My bags were packed when the news came. My fairy had been kidnapped by the promise of hordes of oil money. I was alone. Without the confidence and respectability my fairy gave me, I was left to fumble with designing an instructional game that never came to fruition. The fairy is now living it up in the desert; the terrorists have won again.
Then, nearly two years after these epic events, the Federation of American Scientists and the ESA called for strategies to develop video games to strengthen education and provide workforce training. The FAS and ESA are looking to government, education and business sectors to develop these strategies.
The moral of this story is twofold. First, do not depend on fairies. They are likely to fly away at any moment and can be quite elusive when asked to write a letter of recommendation. Secondly, video games in education may be a legitimate field of research and not just a way of weaseling out of work.