It’s only a game

Well, I could hardly let today go by unmarked after all: at 00:01 this morning the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, officially launched.  Currently played by over 11 million people worldwide, and by far the most successful MMO ever, the launch provided an ideal opportunity for the BBC to film girls dressed up as elves and turn concerns that a few people may deal with real life difficulties by becoming addicted to the game into a hand-wringing breakfast time piece featuring a ubiquitous, apparently publicity-addicted psychologist.

Despite the discredited claims of flawed studies, eccentric opinion pieces and extremist activists that computer games cause real life violence and social problems, there is significant evidence that they can actually improve skills and academic performance.  JISC have funded a significant amount of work in this area, and it’s been a popular theme at our own conference.  Multiplayer gaming, with the social and mental engagement it involves, seems to me to be a far more worthwhile activity than passive television watching, and as Mark Barrowcliffe says in his wonderful memoir, The Elfish Gene, ‘much less dangerous than horse riding or wind surfing, and no one seems to bother too much about those’.

2 thoughts on “It’s only a game

  1. I get really annoyed at these Jack Thompson types pointing fingers! Games have been a major factor in keeping in touch with my friends from University; although we are all spread around the country we all try and find time to meet up in a virtual environment to have a chat and some fun! It feels like some people so scared of the powerful emotions, purpose and feelings that games can convey? Hope you are enjoying wrath of the linch king.

  2. wotlk is simply mind blowing, i nearly got all my characters to lvl 80, all the parts of the maps in nothrend is really good, and i really like the new class death knight.

    Cheers!!! I play On deathwing server, what about you!!

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