Monday, April 24, 2006

The Gamer generation and the chase after the user ...

While we are barely getting ready for the Net-generation, there is a new generation already emerging according to numerous posts and newsitems. Even in Dutch blogs like the Zeeuwse Bibliotheek and in Dutch Newspapers NRC 2006, April 1st (no joke), p51. There are two aspects I want to talk about. First the apparent differences between gamers and non-gamers, and secondly the link between games and libraries. "Watch out! It's a gamer!" Being raised and growing up with "videogames" has an influence on the way of learning and working, according to researchers. I am not suggesting we can do anything with it right now, but the subject is just too interesting for me, as a computer gamer. The article of Carstens and Beck (2005) "Get ready for the gamer generation" in TechTrends. 49 (3) 22-25. Beck (and Wade) published their research of the influence in the business environment in the book "Got Game : how the gamer generation is reshaping business forever" in 2004. and in 2005 "Everything bad is good for you" by Stephen Johnson Carstens and Beck argument that the brains of gamers are "hard wired" differently than non-gamers. They found that “gamers showed a range of different opinions and behaviors compared to their non-gamer brethren.” (p. 23) They suggested that gamers have little respect for traditional authority and training. They want to win, think competion is "part of the game" and believe you should be rewarded for achievements. Their cognitive skills are bigger, as well as the spacial perception and divided visual attention. They like taking risks, thinfailurere costs nothing, because you just can start over again. Gamers think of more ways to solve problems, always think there is a solution for any problem and they are endlessly trying to find it, because every game has a solution build into it. Could these differences mean anything for us as librarians and teachers to adept our way of teaching? Should we train ourselves to become ludologist? I will make a new post for my second aspect about linking between gamers and libraries.
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