Facilitation: Flanagan

As we grow up, we begin to develop as people and develop new ideas and new thoughts. We learn new things by exploring different areas and topics by different forms and methods. One of the methods that Flanagan argues we learn from is through “play.” Flanagan states that “play is an integral and vital part of mental development and learning, and playful activities are essential aspects of learning and creative acts.”. (Flanagan 4) From this, Flanagan begins to explore what the impacts of games can have on the audience and its player. By playing a game you and immersing yourself in the art form that the creators have built for you to explore and reach an end goal, and we as the players can learn from the game by playing critically. Flanagan defines critical play as a “means to create or occupy play environments that represent one or more questions about aspects of human life.” (Flanagan 6) This is the key idea of the article as if a game can stimulate critical play from the player, then a message or argument can be claimed from said game. Before we take a look at an example, Flanagan establishes a set of parameters that a game must follow in order to stimulate play which are: “1. A game is a system 2. It is artificial 3. It has players 4. It has conflict 5. It has rules 6. It contains a quantifiable outcome/goal, an ending state in which players can either be considered the “winners” or the “losers.” (Flanagan 7)

I read this and the first game that I though of was Call of Duty: World at War, which was released in 2008 on various gaming systems. The game is based on World War II and takes the perspective of an unnamed soldier apart of the United States front lines, apart of the Allies. This world war is considered one of the most important events in human history, and so the game explores an aspect of human life, as Flanagan argued before. With this we can begin to breakdown if it fits the bill in Flanagans eyes.

1. Call of Duty World at War has a system in place. Although the player has some freedom into what actions he can take, there is a set plan of missions that you must go through and certain actions that are already planned.
2. Although the game is based on real events and real tragedies, it is an artificial game that explores the aspects of the war. It would be defined as Historical Fiction.
3. You are one of the players in the game, the CPU can be considered as one of the other players in the game. On top of the campaign mode that the game has, there is a multiplayer which places you in the battlefield against other people in real time.
4. The conflict in this game would be the Axis forces preventing you from stopping the war.
5. Although the player is free to chose what he does, the player has a lot of rules in place, for example, you cannot kill your teammates and you cannot roam the playfield because certain texts will tell you to return to the place of action.
6. The total end goal of the game is to win the war, ultimately, as the Allies did in 1943

Gameplay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_wqVGEI-j8

This game and many others are presenting ideas and telling stories, and as Flanagan argues at the end of the article, that these games are the new technology that pushes our development as humans. (Flanagan 9). Games are a type of play that stimulates the player to learn new things in a different way and “All art derives from play.” (Flanagan 8)

3 thoughts to “Facilitation: Flanagan”

  1. This facilitation covering Flanagan’s theory that individuals learn through play is very informative and helps me understand the imperative details of video games. Although I am not very educated or experienced in virtual games, I do understand how involving yourself in this hobby can aid in the mental development of outside world scenarios, such as war. I can appreciate how submerging your ideals into this virtual scene can ignite creativity and knowledge from perplexing schemes displayed throughout the game. It is very interesting how Flanagan introduced the game parameters that one most follow in order to produce “play”. I enjoy the effort to break down Call of Duty: World at War, and I can imagine how trying to win a war would persuade individuals to learn, grow, and look into the different histories of war which is ultimately a part of development. It would be interesting to analyze other video games such as: Cooking Mama, Animal Crossing, or Barbie Fashion show. I could see how the parameters of these visuals would alter to produce different developmental aspects.

  2. I really liked this facilitation and how you broke everything down from Flanagan’s article. This reading was very interesting, and I’d never really thought about the impact that play has on our lives. Flanagan stated that “play is an integral and vital part of mental development and learning, and playful activities are essential aspects of learning and creative acts”. I think that when many people think of the effects that video games have on kids, only negative ones come to mind. Though it is true that

  3. Your facilitation is really accurate based on what you were explaining on your blog post. We’ve all grown up with numerous video games that became popular throughout so many decades, such as Super Mario Brothers, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Grand Theft Auto franchise, and so much more, even though I was never too big on playing video games. During the 2010s, we also grew up with online horror games and Oculus horror games, such as the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, Outlast, and the Emily Wants to Play franchise. Both the Five Nights at Freddy’s and Emily Wants to Play franchises have a game-over setting once the player is killed off by either evil dolls or animatronics, while the winning setting is when he/she survived. These types of horror games were made to scare the players as they start playing their games. I have seen many YouTube gamers, such as Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, PewDiePie, and POIISED, react to those horror games just to give the audience some entertainment and a little scare.

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