Video games have been a source of controversy in the media almost since their invention. At best, these digital diversions are thought of as trivial, childish obsessions. At worst, they are attacked as violent, antisocial, corrupting, and dangerous to our youth. But as Rusel DeMaria shows, video games may represent one of the most powerful learning technologies ever invented. He turns the controversy on its head and shows the positive potential of the much-maligned video game to inspire, motivate, and teach.
DeMaria delves deeply into the realities of the gaming world, analyzing both the business forces driving game development and the unique qualities that distinguish video games from all other popular media. Drawing on the latest research on play and learning, he explains that it is precisely these qualities—a combination DeMaria calls the “magic edge”—that make video games such potentially powerful tools. He shows how games can be designed to integrate content that educates, inspires, motivates, and empowers players—even as they lure them in with their drama and thrill them with special effects—and offers numerous examples of popular games that do just that. He even offers a primer to help curious non-gamers begin to explore the gaming world and discover the positive potential of games for themselves.
DeMaria presents video games in a new light and details many of the ways they can facilitate learning. Because millions of people are playing games all around the world, we owe it to ourselves to utilize their positive power to spark imaginations and make learning fun for our own kids and for gamers around the world.
"Must reading for parents, policy-makers and pundits."
-Bing Gordon Chief Creative Officer, Electronic Arts
"As your son or daughter would no doubt put it, Rusel DeMaria 'gets it.' He combines an insider's understanding of how the games industry works, a fan's vantage point on what's exciting about this emerging medium, a concerned citizen's perspective on the social and educational impacts of games culture, and a visionary's take on where this might all be leading. It's a potent combination-- all the more so because he pulls it off with common sense and accessible, even engaging prose. This is a book parents and educators should read before they make any final judgments about the place of games in the lives of young Americans, and young people should read Reset if they are looking for arguments about why playing games doesn't rot the brain."
-Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
"Rusel DeMaria has long been a unique and insightful voice inside the games industry. Reset is the first book about video games that covers the whole area, in a completely lucid and entertaining way, for a wide audience. Anyone can now get up to speed on a controversial topic of vital concern to our culture and our economy."
-James Paul Gee, Tashia Morgridge Professor of Reading, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of What Video Games Can Teach Us About Learning and Literacy
"Rusel DeMaria opens the eyes of the reader to rethink and reshape the notion of videogames from something to be feared to something that is a vital agent for social change, creativity and innovation in the 21st Century.... An absolute must for parents, students, policymakers, educators, or anyone who wants to be enlightened about how learning itself will forever change because of the influence of videogames."
-Corey P. Carbonara, PhD, Professor, Film and Digital Media Director, Digital Communication Technologies Project, Baylor University