In the essay “Dream Machines”, Will Wright argues that games are not just a means of entertainment but also a source of education, creativity and self-expression. I agree with this statement because I believe that playing games gives people the opportunity to learn new tactics, express their abilities, and put their imaginations into practice. Producers of games have nowadays created features which enable players to use the game as a platform of interaction, communication, imagination and expression of one’s own interests and abilities. Therefore, modern games are more customized to allow the players to create things and improve their imaginations.
Will Wright brings out the idea of imagination from the use of games from the start of his essay. He gives an analogy of children who develop their imaginations from the time they gather their toys and substituting them with the real world. In a similar way, players of a game use the experiences they gain from the games they play to the real world. Wright gives an example of a child playing a video game. The child rarely uses a manual, but just presses some buttons in the controller in order to experience what is happening. All other games work in a similar manner – building our imaginations through trial and error. The experience that players gain from the games they play is used to collect empirical evidence that can be used to build a gaming model. Therefore, playing a game is a scientific process like a research method which includes hypothesis, experimentation and analysis.
When playing a game on my phone, I actually do not read the manual. I just press buttons to see what will happen. I like playing real football on my phone. On my first day of the game, I pressed some specific buttons, and the players moved in specific directions. When I pressed another button, the players kicked the balls and performed some tricks. I collected that information and analysed them to determine how I would win the game. This is similar to a real life which teaches us new lessons through experience. We imagine things and wonder what would happen when we take certain steps. In the end, when we try some things we get experience and become more creative.
Critics of games may argue that they are violent, addictive and useless, but players believe that they get positive results from playing. According to Will Wright, games bring together players as a community; they encourage creativity and imaginations; they encourage problem solving capabilities; and build self-esteem. In real life, when people play modern games they compete with other players. For instance, playing football in computers allow two players to play on opposing sides. This encourages fun among friends and enhances community building. It also sharpens the creativity of players as they try to develop new strategies to win the game. It enables them to make choices and take actions; hence improving their creativity and problem-solving skills.
Games also improve people’s imaginations by stimulating their interest, engaging characters, and building storylines. In this case, games require active involvement by the players. Nowadays, creativity of players is invited to help in building the design of the game. Modern games allow players to invent things in the virtual world (Wright, p.454). There are a lot games played online nowadays; they build a world of creative partners who engage in imaginative activities. Through these games, each player expresses himself rather than just being entertained. Players also learn from each other in order to improve their imaginations.
Players learn problem-solving strategies by engaging in games. Because games tell stories and give people challenges, they can be used to obtain information for analysis and problem-solving in the world of games. For instance, I have played a game involving a team of soldiers going on a rescue mission to rescue a hostage. The game enables players to learn the buttons to press in order to shoot opponents, cross deserts, and overcome other challenges (Klopfer, 2008). If one succeeds in one level, he or she goes to another more difficult level. This enables players to learn the ways of overcoming obstacles and solving problems that face humankind.
I therefore believe that games are not just a means of entertainment that misleads the youth to engage in unproductive activities; instead it is a means of leaning and improving one’s own creativity, imagination, problem-solving skills and self expression. Interactions, storylines and characters in games are used by players to build a gaming model that can be used in real life to improve one’s own creativity and imagination, in order to solve problems and overcome challenges successfully.
Klopfer, E. (2008). Augmented learning: Research and design of mobile educational games. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.