The Escapist Magazine
Issue 99
Edu-gaming 2
Editor's Note Letters to the Editor

"Less than a year and about $8,000 later, Neiburger and Helmrich had set up one of the first and largest gaming tournaments at any municipal library in the country. Kids came out of the woodwork to play Mario Kart: Double Dash and Super Smash Bros: Melee. Roughly a quarter of them had never been to a library before.
According to Neiburger, 'One kid told us videogames are gateway drugs for libraries.'"

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"Far from kids getting bored with the mass arrangement, Ryan says his classmates at Hedgesville Middle School love the game. 'When [the gym teacher] has the mats out, the line's always a mile long,' he says. 'We just got two more mats, so you can get four people playing it now. So, like, it was cool before, but now you actually have a line.'
"If there's a kid who doesn't like DDR, says Bailey, 'we haven't found them yet. Almost all the kids who've played it enjoyed it, and wanted to continue to play it.'"
Lara Crigger reports on West Virgina's revolutionary program to curb childhood obesity - with videogames.

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"'When you put a man on the moon, that kind of carries the day for a couple decades, but nowadays putting a man on the moon's just not going to do it. ... One of the things that will do it is if we start teaching science in a more hands on manner and inquiry based fashion.

'That's exactly why NASA is in Whyville. NASA is the sponsor of the Whyville Aeronautics and Space Administration, and in that particular place in Whyville, you get to learn about rocket science and spectroscopy and ion engine technology, and they're literally playing what you and I would call almost videogame vignettes. [Kids are] sitting down to play Tetris, only in order to succeed in Tetris you have to learn something about spectroscopy.'"

Russ Pitts speaks to Jay Goss, Chief Operation Officer of 2 million member online community Whyville.

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"What's more, these games - though inarguably games - feel different from those we play for fun. These sims are incredibly targeted. They pull you in because they're about your job and your co-workers at your company. When they work right, they engage you at levels you never knew existed, and you hate to stop playing. But they're not meant to be "fun," as such. In fact, though some of these consultants do let the word "game" sneak into their pitches, "fun" is an F-word. They aim for respectability. And believe it: In this respect, computer game publishers could learn from them."

Allen Varney on business simulations - games by any other name.

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"In addition to the low cost of enrollment, community and small colleges offer practicality and skill focus. But are they delivering the best education possible? The primary criticism of these programs has been their lack of connection with actual game development - criticism also levied at larger universities, which suffer a catch-22: Upscale universities require all of their professors to have Ph.D.s, but with few exceptions, there are no Ph.D.s for game development, and even if there were, you wouldn't commonly see a practicing developer carrying one."

Erin Hoffman takes a critical look at the game design curriculum gold rush.

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