On October 18, 1958 the American nuclear physicist William Higinbotham introduced the first two-person electronic game Tennis for Two during a Brookhaven National Laboratory open house demonstration (BNL.org). Tennis for Two consisted of a two-dimensional side view of a tennis court that was projected onto an oscilloscope screen which was similar to a black and white television. Participants of this revolutionary electronic game served and volleyed an electronic tennis ball utilizing controllers with buttons and rotating dials which allowed participants to modify the angle of their invisible tennis racquet as well as serve and volley the electronic tennis ball to their opponent. Consequently, William Higinbotham’s revolutionary interactive exhibit within the Brookhaven National Laboratory was so popular when it was introduced that hundreds of visitors stood in line for hours to play Tennis for Two (BNL.org).
Although William Higinbotham’s motive for creating Tennis for Two was to merely demonstrate to visitors of the Brookhaven National Laboratory that a science exhibit can be interactive as well as entertaining; the American nuclear physicist William Higinbotham would be astonished to the see the immense spark of demand of an industry if he were still alive today (BNL.org). Nearly fifty-seven years after Tennis for Two was introduced to visitors of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, the multi-billion dollar electronic games industry has become instilled within American culture. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the electronic games industry generated over twenty-two billion dollars of revenue and employed over forty-six thousand employees becoming one of the most rapidly growing industries within the United States in 2014 (Theesa.com).
Although the demand for electronic games will continue to rapidly increase due to technological innovations within hand held devices such as smart phones and tablets that enable electronic games to be played virtually anywhere; many educational professionals within the academic community continue to embrace the notion that electronic games retain no academic value and that playing electronic games is a complete waste of time. According to research conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2013, playing electronic games provides many academic benefits which include an increase in problem solving skills, a reduction in anxiety and a promotion of relaxation as well as provides an opportunity for users to improve their social skills (APA.org).
Superlatively, one of the most fundamental electronic game genres that substantially increases problem solving skills is the puzzle electronic game genre and within recent decades has become more creatively complex due to the rapid innovations of electronic game technology. As a result, one of the most complex contemporary electronic puzzle games that substantially increases problem solving skills is the electronic puzzle game Bridge Constructor created by the electronic game developer Clockstone Studo (Clockstone Studio).
Within this revolutionary complex electronic puzzle game, the user is presented with the task of designing and constructing bridges over a variety of deep valleys, canals, and rivers utilizing limited monetary and material resources (Clockstone Studio). Bridge Constructor offers sixty-four levels that become increasingly challenging as the user advances through the game with an essential goal to create a bridge that is structurally strong utilizing the least amount of resources available.
As a result, Bridge Constructor is a remarkable electronic game that increases problem solving skills due to the unlimited amount of approaches that the user can utilize to design and construct the ultimate bridge. In addition to increasing problem solving skills, Bridge Constructor is also an excellent electronic game for engineering students because it introduces them to real-life applications of limits as well as challenges their creativity and ingenuity in order to achieve their goals.
In addition to increasing problem solving skills, electronic games can also assist in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation by providing an engaging alternative to exercise as seen through fitness electronic games. Within recent years, video game console manufacturers have incorporated camera technologies into their consoles with capabilities of detecting the user’s movements and projecting them onto the user’s television. As a result, many electronic game designers have embraced this revolutionary camera technology by developing a new genre of electronic games named the fitness electronic game genre.
One of the most popular and innovative electronic games in recent years is the electronic game Xbox Fitness designed for Microsoft’s video game console, the Xbox One (Sumo Digital). Within Xbox Fitness, the user’s movements are captured via the Xbox One’s camera the Kinect which provides real-time feedback of the user’s performance, heartbeat, as well as which muscle groups are being most utilized. As a result, Xbox Fitness provides one of the most unique fitness experiences because the user is provided the opportunity to exercise with some of the most renowned personal trainers in the world allowing the user to be continually motivated and engaged throughout their exercise sessions (Sumo Digital). Xbox Fitness as well as many other fitness electronic games are an excellent way to relieve anxiety and promote relaxation because electronic fitness games provide a relaxed environment to exercise that could otherwise cause anxiety for people exercising in a gym as well as are a great way to achieve fitness goals.
In addition to reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, playing electronic games provides an exceptional medium to improve social skills through online multiplayer electronic games. Once the World Wide Web was created in circa 1990, people throughout the globe have become more connected to each other than ever in history (WebFoundation.org). As a result, electronic game developers have attempted to capitalize on the substantial demand for interconnectivity by creating multiplayer electronic games that can be played with other users via the internet.
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular multiplayer electronic games is the first-person shooter electronic game Call of Duty. Call of Duty is a military re-enactment electronic game which requires users to interact with other users to work as a team in order to defeat the opposing team (Activision). Users of Call of Duty range from casual users to competitive teams that play Call of Duty in tournaments for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
One of the most world renowned competitive Call of Duty teams is the American team Optic Gaming who has won many international tournaments and acquired millions of followers on the website Youtube.com (Optic.tv). As a result, Optic Gaming has inspired many electronic game accessory companies to develop Optic Gaming merchandise including custom controllers, gaming furniture, as well as t-shirts that Optic Gaming fans can purchase to support their team.
Consequently, due to the plethora of academic advantages of playing electronic games as well as the rapid increase of people who participate in electronic games, electronic games are beginning to become implemented within the class room. One electronic game that was originally an entertainment electronic game and has been embraced by the academic community and evolved into an educational instrument is the electronic game SimCityEdu.
SimCityEdu is an educational electronic game developed by the electronic game designer GlassLab in 2013 where the user is presented with the task of being a mayor of a large metropolitan city and is responsible for reducing the environmental impacts as well as fulfilling the economic challenges of the city that the user has created (GlassLab). As a result, SimCity Edu is an exceptional educational instrument because it engages students as well as provides a personalized learning experience that provides real-time assessments to the instructor so that the instructor can modify his or her lesson plans to best satisfy his or her student’s educational needs (GlassLab).
In conclusion, due to the rapid technological advancements within smart phone and tablet technologies, electronic games will continue to become an increasing aspect of American as well as global cultures. In fact, according to the Entertainment Software Association, the electronic games industry is projected reach over one hundred billion dollars in global sales in 2015 with many of these sales encompassing educational electronic games (Theesa.org). As a result, the notion that playing electronic games provides no academic value and is a complete waste of time is rapidly becoming an obsolete notion similar to technologies of previous decades. Michael D. Gallagher, President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, eloquently encompasses the future of electronic games:
Video games are ingrained into our culture. Driven by some of the most innovative minds in the tech sector, our industry’s unprecedented leaps in software and hardware engages and inspires our diverse global audience. Our artists and creators continue to push the entertainment envelop, ensuring that our industry will maintain its upward trajectory for years to come (Theesa.com).
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