the best of qualities is dispassion

Game Literacy for Boomers

I had difficulty finding a piece that I wanted to share for Cycle 2. I am still attempting to clear away my absolute ignorance about games and learning and it is therefore quite challenging for me to ferret out a piece that may both help me to understand this polarizing topic, while at the same time meet the requirements of this course. I then stumbled across the article: “Toward a Media Literacy for Games” written by Squire in 2005. This piece feels as if it were written to help me understand the great divide between many people of my generation (baby boomers) and the following generations that grew up with more technology, technology which of course includes videogames.

The catalyst for Squire (2005) to write this piece was a federal court case concerning videogames and First Amendment protections, but in the end actually served to expose many cultural biases and attitudes towards videogames (p. 9). In it he argues that the judge in the case was “… illiterate with the medium …” and was therefore not “… in any position to comment on the meaning of videos games” (Squire, 2005, p. 9). According to Squire (2005) in order to overcome this illiteracy concerning videogames that “… the question is no longer, ‘Is media literacy necessary?’ but the question is, ‘What kind of media literacy is necessary and for whom?’”

We finally arrive at the point where I can share some of my own thinking about videogames and this ongoing argument concerning their value in education. In this course we have already read articles and studies which argue for the efficacy of videogames as a learning tool.  And although I have great confidence in academic research I remain quite skeptical. The primary reason I am skeptical is due to my personal experience. I do realize the “my experience” statement is often rejected out-of-hand as mere anecdotal evidence, but it is my experience and I won’t deny it. I purchased numerous videogames for my sons when they were growing up in the eighties and nineties, some for pure entertainment, and some advertised as educational. The young fellows would quickly turn away from the educational variety and return to the pure entertainment games. I have since dealt with young charges from my extended family that are so obsessed with videogame play that they permit the other parts of their lives to fall apart. This is a serious issue and one that we must not deny.

On one side of the argument we have the videogame illiterate like the judge in the aforementioned case and myself. On the other side of the argument we have the players, designers and educators that are passionate about the usefulness of videogames in education. I, like Squire, hold that the way to overcome this divide is through literacy. Those that study these types of learning tools and hold the knowledge must share with the rest of us, but should dial down the passion just a bit. Those, like me, that require an education on this 21st century issue must remain open-minded and dial down the fear mongering. It must not be reduced to the luddites versus technophiles, as this causes the great we against they divide, which only serves to close minds. It should instead be what is best for the leaners, so if you would please, share kindly.




Squire, K. D. (2005). Toward a Media Literacy for Games. Retrieved February 15, 2016, from

1 thought on “Game Literacy for Boomers”

  • As I read your posting in some way it surprises me. For my family the older generation was always playing some type of card, dice or board game. Though they did not truly understand the computer games. I think the main reason was that there was such little social interaction from their view. Back in the day friends and family came over not just to chat but also to entertain themselves with a game.

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