I feel like I have walked through the wrong door when I read this book. I am a gamer who can talk at length about the benefits of video games. When I read this book, I am inundated with complex phraseologies for what I already knew about video games. In short, this book is not for gamers. It is for linguists and specialists in education to understand video games. But let us look in more detail at this book.
James Paul Gee’s thesis is that video games can teach more than just basic hand-eye coordination. Gee believes that games can teach and that we can learn a lot from how they teach. Gee has 36 points of what games teach. 36 points that I will not explicitly state because there is providing basic information and then there is padding, and listing and explaining all 36 points is what the book is for, not the book’s summary. I think I agree with all 36 of the book’s points. I know I read the book, but I’m not sure I fully absorbed it. I’m not sure what a semiotic domain is or if video games ever taught me about them.
Despite all of this, I still feel the need to recommend this book to some people. I think the reason I am not getting the full message out of this book is that I am arriving from the perspective of someone who not only knows that games can teach and teach us about learning, but I already have my own examples. What this book teaches me is how to phrase what I already know in a different way and talk to a different group of people about the same subject. There are other people who approach this topic. I think particularly of Extra Credits, a video series about video games and video game design on TheEscapistMagazine.com (links to specific episodes will be included at the bottom), but there are other people on the internet who talk about this subject. But there has been one massive flaw in how they have talked about them in my previous experience. All of the people I know of who talk about video games and there value to society have been coming from the perspective of people who grew up playing games. They are not the 60 year-old linguists, but mid-20s adults who played video games for most of their lives. I think this book’s biggest value is just that it brings a different perspective to a dialogue that is already going on.
As far as the video series I was discussing concern, there were two episodes that come to mind. One is on gamification and incorporating game design into other aspects of life http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2985-Gamification. The other video I think is important to this discussion is on tangential learning http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2957-Tangential-Learning. They also make reference to an older episode about The Skinner Box and psychology that you can find here, but I do not necessarily think that this episode is as relevant or is entirely necessary to understand what they are talking about http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2487-The-Skinner-Box. I cannot guarantee that all of the content on this site is 100% safe for work, so visit at your own risk, but the videos themselves are SFW. Hopefully, these videos will help to illustrate my point about understanding the point of this book without understanding the language in it.