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Are These Video Games Really Educational ?
on January 04, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Okay, now we seem to head into the realm of science fiction. People who play video games and find the awesome godlike powers they are allowed in virtual space quite addicting, have always walked about away from their a games kind of feeling like those powers really could one day turn out to be real. There have been developments in computer video games. And in some small way, they do seem to actually bring us a little closer (if only a little) to possessing those powers in reality. Let's start with what you are allowed to do on games like EteRNA and Fold-It. These are games for the scientifically-inclined (biologically, to be more precise). You play these games if you find the molecular structures of essential RNA proteins that make up all life at all interesting. These games allow you to virtually manipulate the protein structures that make up the RNA strands in sales. Now, from the Ivy League set, here is another impossibly interesting game - one where you actually wield godlike powers over life. Well, life almost. You play with living microorganisms - germs. It is a Stanford research group that has developed games of this kind - ones with names like Ciliaball, and Biotic Pinball. The aim of the game of course is educational. The scientists who designed these computer video games hope that people will begin to learn about how fascinating the world of microorganisms are, how complex and beautiful natural processes can be. Who are these games intended for? To begin with, they are intended for people who wish to learn more about biology. And they are also meant for the scientifically inclined. Budding scientists can easily use these games as a virtual laboratory to help them make actual experiments. Of course, if you are to play with actual microorganisms, the game can't completely be in the virtual realm. At some point, the game has to leave the computer world and enter the real world. That means you need equipment that you usually don't associate with computer video games - a microscope, a camera and a device that manipulates microscopic organisms (such as the paramecium with electrical charges). There are also games that allow you to add chemicals to the fluid matrix (no, not The Matrix) that the organisms exist in to try to manipulate which way the swim. If you succeed in getting them to swim into your pinball receptacle, you win.
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