Um livro a ler..

Encontrei este livro: “Why Video Games are Good for Your Soul” de James Paul Gee que parece ser interessante de se ler. Tentei obter informações acerca do índice do livro mas sem sucesso, contudo o o google books disponibiliza esta parte e que é a introdução:
“Good video games are good for your soul. Now there’s a statement that begs for some qualifications!

First, what’s a video game? What I mean are the sorts of commercial games people play on computers and game platforms like the Playstation 2, the GameCube, the Xbox, and the handheld Game Boy. I mean action, adventure, shooter, strategy, sports, and role-playing games. I mean games like Castlevania, Half-Life, Deus Ex, Metal Gear Solid, Max Payne, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Tony Hawk Underground, Rise of Nations, Civilization, Age of Mythology, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Allied Assault, Call of Duty, Tales of Symphonia, 1C0, Pikmin, Zelda: The Wind Waker, and Ninja Gaiden to name some random good games off the top of my head. There are many others.

Second, what does “good for you” mean? Next to nothing is good or bad for you in and of itself and all by itself. It all depends on how it is used and the context in which it is used. Is television good or bad for children? Neither and both. It’s good if people around them are getting them to think and talk about what they are watching, bad when they sit there alone watching passively being baby-sat by the tube (Greenfield 1984). The same is true of books. Reading reflectively, asking yourself questions, and engaging in a dialogue with others, is good for your head. Believing everything you read uncritically is bad for you and for the rest of us, as well, since you may well become a danger to the world.

So good video games are good for your soul when you play them with thought, reflection, and engagement with the world around you. They are good if, as a player, you begin to think and act like a game designer While you play the game, something good games encourage. After all, players co-author games by playing them, since if the player doesn’t interact with the game and make choices about what will happen, nothing will happen. Each page of a book and each scene in a move is predetermined before you see it and is the same for every reader. Many acts and their order in a video game, however, are open to player choice and different for different players.

So, then, what’s a good, as opposed to a bad, Video game? It would take a book longer than this one to explicate what makes good games good and gamers don’t know how to put it all into words. You have to play the games. So, then, what’s a good, as opposed to a bad, video game? It would take a book longer than this one to explicate what makes good games good and gamers don’t know how to put it all into words. You have to play the games.
Good games are the ones gamers come to see as “gaming goodness”, “fair”, and sometimes even “deep”—all terms of gaming art. Good games are the games that lots of gamers come to agree are good, though they rarely think any one game is perfect.

Some games, like [CO or American McGee’s Alice, get discovered late and become underground classics, while others, like Half-Life or Zelda: The Wind Waker, nearly everyone agrees from the outset are good. Then there are
games like Anachronox, which didn’t sell well and received some rather tepid reviews, but is, I’m telling you, a darn good game—you see I have my own opinions about these matters. In fact, different gamers like and dislike different games and different types of games.

OK, then, what for heaven’s sake is your soul? And what could playing Video games have to do with it? Once, years ago, I had the special experience of going back into time and living for several years in the Middle Ages. The
details need not detain us—you’ll just have to trust me on this—but, believe me, that experience taught me what souls meant in one context. That is not what I mean here.

Too often in the world today people from all sorts of religions believe that those who don’t share their beliefs will go to some sort of hell and, worse, they are sometimes willing to make life hell for others here and now to help them, whether they like it or not, avoid going to hell. Or, perhaps, they just make life hell for others to ensure that they themselves will go to heaven, having displayed their merit by removing a suitable number of infidels. While I do retain a certain nostalgia for the Middle Ages, that nostalgia plays no role in this book.

So what could I mean by “soul?” I mean What the poet Emily Dickinson meant (Dickinson 1924):
My life closed twice before its close —
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

What Emily Dickinson is talking about here is not the immortality, heaven, and hell of traditional religion (Dickinson was skeptical of traditional religion at a time and place where that was socially dangerous, especially for women). She is talking about a fact that every human being knows and feels, a fact that defines what it means to be human. This fact is that we each have two parts. One of these parts is our body. If you truly traumatize the body, it will die and it can die but once, which is, indeed, a mercy.

But there is another part of us, a part to which different religions and cultures through the ages have given different names. This part—let’s just say it is our “soul”—can be traumatized over and over again and not die, just as in the case of the two emotionally damaging events to which Emily Dickinson alludes. No mercy here, as we all very well know, unless you have been very fortunate, indeed, in your life. The rest of us have, if old enough, already died more than once. This part—this soul—is immortal in the sense that, until the body goes, it can go on suffering grievously over and over again, suffering many deaths, unlike the body which can die but once.

But it is because we have this soul part that events and other people can take on such a charge for human beings. It is because we have this soul part that events and other people can give us what we know of heaven here on earth. It is only because losing a loved one, either by death or parting, as Dickinson is alluding to, can give rise to such pain that loving others can rise to such joy. You can’t really have the one without the other. Having the charge, the spark, is heaven and losing it is hell. But you can’t have it if there is no chance of losing it, that’s the way of life for us humans. That’s why we “need” hell. There is no heaven without hell, no positive charges without risk of negative ones.

Emily Dickinson very well knew, then, that it matters hugely whether life here and now for people is heaven or hell. It matters hugely whether we help make life heaven or hell for others, whether we murder or rejoice their other parts, their souls, that part of them that cannot die as long as they have their bodies. It matters. We can be complicit with murder without having killed anyone. The world can murder us several times over long before it takes our bodies.

The Middle Ages saw to it that peasants and the poor died many times before they died. The rich got off more easily, though, by the nature of life itself, they, too, paid their soul dues. Modern life offers more opportunities, but more complexity, as well. For many people—perhaps, all of us at times—modern life offers too much risk and too much complexity (Kelly 1994). We don’t really understand what’s going on around us, lots of it just doesn’t make any good sense, at least as far as we can tell. We can understand why some people turn to fundamentalism to garner secure “truths” without thought and reflection. It is, indeed, an attempt to save their souls, to protect themselves from the traumas of modern life, a life Where often the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and everyone suffers risks created by other people, even people clear across the globe.

If people are to nurture their souls, they need to feel a sense of control, meaningfulness, even expertise in the face of risk and complexity. They want and need to feel like heroes in their own life stories and to feel that their stories make sense. They need to feel that they matter and that they have mattered in other people’s stories. If the body feeds on food, the soul feeds on agency and meaningfulness. I will argue that good video games are, in this sense, food for the soul, particularly appropriate food in modern times. Of course, the hope is that this food will empower the soul to find agency and meaning in other aspects of life.

This book is primarily about the pleasures—the charge—that good video games can give people. These pleasures are connected to control, agency, and meaningfulness. But it is also about how good games create deep learning, learning that is better than what we often see today in our schools. Pleasure and learning: For most people these two don’t seem to go together. But that is a mistruth we have picked up at school, where we have been taught that pleasure is fun and learning is work, and, thus, that work is not fun (Gee 2004). But, in fact, good videos games are hard work and deep fun. So is good learning in other contexts.

Pleasure is the basis of learning for humans and learning is, like sex and eating, deeply pleasurable for human beings. Learning is a basic drive for humans. School has taught people to fear and avoid learning as anorexics fear and avoid food, it has turned some people into mental anorexics. Some of these same people learn deeply in and through games, though they say they are playing, not learning. The other people who often say they are playing When they’re working hard at learning are those professionals—scientists, scholars, and craftsmen—who love their work. There is a reason for this kinship between gamers and professionals and that will be one of the things I deal with in this book.

This book is written for anyone interested in video games, whether this be gamers, people interested in learning, or people interested in the pervasive role Video games play in modern society and across the world. After all, games are a massive economic force today and an even more major cultural force, since they are a shared cultui‘e among many young people across the globe (Kent 2001; King 2002; King & Borland 2003; Poole 2002). This book is meant to be a contribution to the emerging field of game studies, though I argue that game studies should interest a wide array of people, gamers and non-gamers alike (Aarseth 1997; Juul 2004; Laurel 1993; Murray 1998; Salin & Zimmerman 2003; Wardrip-Fruin & Harrigan 2004; Wolf 2002, 2003).

I have a confession to make, though. I offer here a partial “theory of games”. I hate to tell you this, because I know lots of you will not like to hear it, since “theory” sounds so boring. But I hasten to add, the book contains precious little jargon (much less than readers had to endure in my earlier book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, 2003). I hasten to add, as well, that I never venture too far from talking about actual games. Things stick pretty close to the ground, I hope. No arcane philosophy, I promise (well, maybe you found the stuff on the soul arcane).

Well, we have to deal with it. We all know the topic is looming over us. What about violence and video games? Does playing video games lead people to be more violent? More ink has been devoted to this topic than any other concerned with video games. But most of that ink has been wasted.

The 19th century was infinitely more violent than the 20th in terms of crime (though not actual warfare) and no one played Video games. The politicians who have heretofore sent people to war have not played video games—they’re too old. The Japanese play video games more than Americans do, as, indeed, they watch more television, but their society is much less violent than America’s. No, as we said above, video games are neither good nor bad all by themselves, they neither lead to Violence or peace. They can be and do one thing in one family, social, or cultural context, quite another in other such contexts.

If you want to lower Violence, then worry about those contexts, which all extend well beyond just playing video games. Politicians who get hot and heavy about violence in video games usually don’t want to worry about such contexts, contexts like poverty, bad parenting, and a culture that celebrates greed, war, and winning. Too expensive, perhaps. In my View, the violence and Video games question is a silly one and you won’t hear more about it here. I do live in fear of people who would kill someone because they have played a Video game, but I know that they would equally kill someone if they had read a book or seen a movie or even overheard another nut and I would like you first to take their weapons away. Then, too, someone should have taught these people how to play video games, read books, and watch movies critically and reflectively.

In a world in which millions of people across the globe are dying in real wars, many of them civil wars, it is surely a luxury that we can worry about little boys getting excited for ten minutes after playing a shooter. There are much better things to worry about and I just pray that a time comes in the world where such a problem really merits serious attention. Let’s stop the killing, for example in Africa, on the part of people who have never played a video game before we ban games, books, and movies to save ourselves from a handful of disturbed teenagers who would have been better served by better families and schools.

On a more positive note, we should realize that the possibilities of video games and the technologies by which they are made are immense. Video games hold out immense economic opportunities for business and for careers. They hold out equally immense possibilities for the transformation of learning inside and outside schools. They hold out immense promise for changing how people think, value, and live. We haven’t seen the beginning yet. As I write, all the game platforms are on their last legs, soon to replaced by more powerful devices. What wonderful worlds will we eventually see? What charged virtual lives will we be able to live?

The Wild West and space were seen new frontiers. Video games and the virtual worlds to which they give birth are, too, a new frontier and we don’t know where they will lead. It would be a shame, indeed, not to find out because, like any frontier, they were fraught with risk and the unknown. But, then, I have already admitted that all of us in the complex modern world are frightened of risk and the unknown. But that, I will argue, is a disease of the soul that good games can help alleviate, though, of course, not cure. I talk about specific games in this book. The danger is that any game can come to seem out of date as newer shiner games appear on the market. But this is a mistake. New games will offer new things (so long as the industry doesn’t monopolize), but good older games retain their gaming goodness and we have lots to learn from them. Indeed, we will start with Castlevania:
Symphony of the Night, a game made for the old PSOne and a series with roots in even older game platforms. But Castlevania: Symphony of the Night retains all its greatness. It is still a wondrous gaming experience. Gaming is, by historical standards, brand new, but it already has its classics.

After Castlevania, we will move on to other, more contemporary games, games like Full Spectrum Warrior, Thief: Deadly Shadows, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, Rise of Nations, and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I have chosen games that I myself like and that I think make my points well. But, there is no shortage of games from which to choose and many others would have done as well. Readers may well like different games than I do, though I would still argue that their pleasures stem from the some of the same sources I discuss here.

Not all my readers will be gamers and that is fine. I am an “old” gamer, an inveterate gamer who came to gaming late. Gamers may find I revel in what they take for granted, like a farmer in the big city for the first time. But then the farmer may see things big city folk have already forgotten. Non-gamers may not share my love for games, but I hope they will share my belief that this is an area of culture than must be taken seriously, especially if am right that we gamers are servicing our souls and recovering our atrophied learning muscles at the same time.

Some people may say, well, he’s really arguing it’s all about escape from the perils and pitfalls of real life. But, then, I will say there are escapes that lead no where, like hard drugs, and escapes like scholarly reflection and gaming that can lead to the imagination of new worlds, new possibilities to deal with those perils and pitfalls, new possibilities for better lives for everyone. Our emotions and imagination—our souls—need food for the journeys ahead.”

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