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Reading Response “Transformational Play: Using Games to Position Person, Content, and Context (Barab et.al)”- Week 5

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After reading the article “Transformational Play: Using Games to Position Person, Content, and Context (Barab et.al)”, I  think about how video games tell about players in terms of characters and identity formation.

First, as in the reading, game players play the role of protagonists who “reveal personal biases and misunderstandings” (p.529). Decisions they make may also tell who they are. For example, at the beginning, players have to choose avatars in which others can see what kinds of appearance/ characters they are interested in. This makes me remember some avatars my students built when they played an online game (like Life Quest). Some of boys chose different avatars who had hair with significant color and fierce faces, and wore strange clothes. I understood that they wanted to make their choice quite different form from others’. I did not know if there was a coincidence here but most of such avatars were built by students whose characters were so strong and in class, they seemed to be pretty “naughty”. On the other hand, the rest students built images who are beautiful/handsome. Observing them, I could understand how my students look at “the world”. According to their choice, personal biases and misunderstanding can be seen. For them, appearance may play the most essential part to distinguish a person. A person has special characters has to have different appearance or a good person has to be beautiful or handsome. That is not the same in the reality.

Second, players’ characters can be also revealed by the ways they solve problems in games. There are some people who seem to hastily take action while others seem to be more patient. There is a good thing about online game I can clearly see. Most of games ask for players’ patience. In order to achieve a goal, a player is required complete several tasks with a suitable strategy as well as numerous disciplines. In some games, if players are hurried, they are easily “died” and have to return to the beginning step. That is one of good characters video games can help to form players’ identity.

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