Cultivating Conative Domain Through Gaming

During my studies I’ve began to see more and more things that games could teach us, if we just opened our eyes and start using them. In a way I think this is already a bit nuisance to me as I can’t play a round of GoW without thinking “Oh, this could be a nice way of tutoring something, why haven’t they tried something like this in the educational sector?” But yes, we all have our burdens to carry.

Here’s a couple of slightly unfinished thoughts and questions that have been lingering in my mind, which I let loose so that I can once again play games without thinking of them too deeply all the time. Would be great to hear comments or if someone knows any research on these topics.

About Goals and Objectives

The other day I took a couple of hours to reflect about the similarities and differences between goals and objectives. This started a chain of thoughts to old video games that I had played, and I started to wonder how games use goals and objectives.

Often we people have goals, but at the same time the difficulty to create objectives to take us towards them. And with some games it seems to be the other way around; you forget the goal of the game when you are just dealing with the ever increasing objectives.

For example the goal in the game Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare is to find a cure for your family who have turned into zombies – and in the same time get rid of the zombies in the neighborhood. The objectives vary from protecting the villagers from the zombies with a blood lust to searching some important items for nuns. Some of the objectives take the main character closer to his goal, which ultimately is, saving his family, and some don’t. I guess that’s also how life is, right?

So, what I wonder is, how much games will, can or could teach us to use goals and objectives in our own lives? Could they actually work as an analogy which to use in training one’s conative domain (if interested, see also William G. Huitt’s overview on conative domain PDF)?

Simply in English, could we learn from them, intentionally or unintentionally, to set better goals and objectives that work for us in our own lives and make it more efficient and also more stress-free as we would know what we’re actually doing?

Perseverance = Entrepreneurial spirit

Sometimes you have to admire how the characters in the video games just keep on going. For example in the new Gears of War 3 series where a handful of people are [again] saving humanity [again] from the aliens. Their ultimate goals, to save the world, is hilariously and constantly filled with new objectives which make the goal always seem to run away from them. But they still carry on, grunting, but still.

Of course video games aren’t the first media to introduce these mythical journeys where one has to exceed time after time (Lord of the Rings is a good example of this kind of a long journey with a faraway goal and several objectives between it and the starting point), but video games is the first medium to let us be so much in charge, to be the actor, and decide do how we want to play the game and do we want to play it till the end.

In the end, like in life general, isn’t it very much about perseverance? To always rise up after some inevitable fall and to try another alternative route to excel, just like in the games? Some times you have to “respawn”, but the point is actually in carrying on and always trying another tactic to move closer to your goal.

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