ACM Computers in Entertainment, Vol. 1, No. 1, October 2003, Article 01.
Video Games and Education
(Education in the Face of a &Parallel School±)
MIGUEL DE AGUILERA
Fully integrated into the everyday lives of millions of young people throughout the world, video games are a vital
part of contemporary culture and society. But the reaction of many authorities and the majority of educators has
been to discredit video games by assuming their negative effects. After more than two decades of research,
however, many studies have been published that have gradually led to a more complex, nuanced, and useful
understanding of video games. This article focuses on one of the most interesting alternative perspectives&that of
their educational potential as teaching and learning tools. After justifying this point of view, we offer a critical
review of previous research on the subject; and finally reach some conclusions on the advantages of using video
games for educational purposes.
Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.3.1 [
Computers and Education
]: Computer Uses in Education
General Terms: Human Factors, Experimentation
Key Words and Phrases: Video games, education, media effects, education reform, bibliography, critical review
1. INTRODUCTION: UNDERSTANDING THE EDUCATIONAL POTENTIAL
1.1 Apocalyptic or Integrated?
It is undeniably enlightening and interesting to talk with video game players, watch them
play and listen to their comments, or read about their thoughts on the subject. It is useful, if
not indispensable, to take advantage of all available means to get to know firsthand what
millions of video game players throughout the world say about the meaning and experience
of playing video games.
Opinions voiced by the players about the video games are extremely varied, ranging
from curiosity through amused indifference to fascination; although the general opinion is
one of acceptance. However, the players± attitudes, based on their experiences as end-users
and on the way the games help to constitute their everyday lives, contrast with those of
politicians, educational leaders, and many media professionals and critics. Although some
accept video games, the majority express deep concern, and some reject them outright,
blaming them for the growth of a culture of violence.
So when serious or harrowing incidents that involve young video game enthusiasts
occur, public opinion leaders frequently pass judgment, depicting the players and their
games in a way that causes general alarm. In terms similar to those used in criticizing
Authors± address: Department of Audiovisual Communication and Advertising Faculty of
Malaga, Campus de Testinos, 29071 MÆlaga, Spain; email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org