Marc Prensky defines those of us in the Baby Boomer generation in terms of the digital age. To him, we are “digital immigrants.” Those born after us, who were raised using technology all their lives, he terms “digital natives.” And it’s the digital natives who are fluent at speaking “game.” According to Prensky, game is “. . . a very rich new language. As soon as there’s something to be said, someone says it in game.”
Here are two versions of an interesting digital game that proves Prensky’s point. This may not be an educational game, but it’s surely a relatively new way of communicating about current events. In this case, it’s an expansion of the ludicrous amount of media airtime devoted to Michael Jackson’s self-promotional antics.
I found an interesting article by Clive Thompson in the Slate webzine about this form of social commentary. Slate also points the reader to www.newgrounds.com, which contains anyone and everyone’s idea of Flash movies that have something to say. There is plenty of offensive material here, so be careful. Slate provides a nice disclaimer:
“These links will take you to games hosted by Newgrounds.com, which archives hundreds of thousands of games and animations. Many of those games (but not the ones Slate has linked to) involve material that is openly racist, sexist, and homophobic, and Slate doesn’t endorse them in any way. In addition, most of the pages, including the ones Slate has linked to, feature banner advertisements for pornography.
• Downing Street Fighter
• War on Terrorism
• Al Quaidamon
• 9/11 special section”
I especially found the history of the site interesting, because it originated with a 13-year old (and some material hasn’t advanced past that). Talk about a digital native!