Life is a game (apparently)

One of my assignments for class was to play a game. Kingdom Rush to be more specific. But of course the professor throws out that we actually have to think about the game and the process of it and our reaction to it. Dr. Z also ruined when he said we had to read things and watch things about gaming and education before we could play the game.¬†There goes the fun assignment, huh? It was nice to tell the husband I couldn’t do the housework because I HAD to play this game for class ūüôā


I read and watched what I was supposed to and played the game. I talked to the little soldiers and yelled at the ugly spiders. I got frustrated. I kept playing cause I wanted to win (or I was winning), and I would stop playing because I wasn’t winning.

While this is not very creative, as per the Dr. Z’s directions, here is my reflection on¬†playing the game.


As you can see, I did not get terribly far in my 3 hours of playing. It was difficult for me to get into the game. Well, I cannot actually say I ever got into the game or if I ever will. There are other games I have played (Candy Crush, Gummy Drop, various word games, free flow, etc.) on my phone. Some I play frequently, others when I am bored. If I don’t get into the game right away,¬†I usually delete it and move on to another game, which is what I think will happen with this game now that my assignment is complete.

I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly that attracts my interest in games. Perhaps this one it was because it was too much strategy? Like you had to place your soldiers in just the right spots to beat the enemies. Or maybe it was because I never really figured it out and that made it a struggle. Like, I still don’t know how to kill the Ogre. Maybe it’s too much to remember with the all the tips and the different information about enemies and their powers, like you need to know the ugly little spider things will lay¬†babies and¬†have some type of resistance to magic? I don’t know. I don’t see me giving up Gummy Drop to be an avid Kingdom Rusher anytime in the near future.


So I can’t say I got into The Flow. Not with this game anyways. I have with others but not this one. I think it goes back to I just was not in the game. I could not get hooked. Which makes me relate this to my students, if they cannot get hooked, or get into The Flow, they are going to go through the motions like I did. Complete the task and move on, whether this be with a (learning) game or an assignment or an activity. It has to be interesting for them.

I did not seek out help when I got stuck on level 3. I saw another student had posted she was having difficulty with the same level and I read the comments/suggestions but honestly, I think it was because I did not care if I progressed. Now, with Candy Crush and other games I have played, I have sought out help on the internet. The difference between my games and Kingdom Rush-I wanted to play. I wanted to progress. I wanted to win. Yes, I wanted to complete level 3 of Kingdom Rush but because I did not feel completely invested in the game, I did not put a whole lot of extra time in it. I think that is part of the answer-investment. We (educators) have to get students to want to invest their time in education. Once they “buy into the game” they will become invested and WANT to learn more and progress. Hey, they might even want to play certain levels again and get more than one star when they can get three.

With reflecting on this game, a game I did not get to choose to play but was “told” to play, and with the readings and the videos related to gaming, I have learned, or have begun to recognize/think about a few things

  • Students get “told” to play games (well, kind of a game) every day by their teachers. If they are not invested in this “game” (learning), they are going to go through the motions, just as I did, to complete the task. No learning is going to happen. They are not going to want to “level up” or “advance” or ¬†search for “cheats” so they can continue. They are going to stay stagnate.
  • Life is a game-something I really did not think about. Retailers, restaurants, credit cards, they all play games and we participate. How can this be incorporated into classrooms? How can teachers reach th level of¬†motivation we have when we play games to succeed? What kind of rewards (besides grades) can we give students so they will want to advance their learning?
  • Paul Anderson brought up a big pointer for me when he was describing what he had learned after turning his class into a game. Students struggle with reading-and he realized this when he stopped talking to them and made them do the reading. This is profound to me and it made me reflect on how much I read to my students and how much I make them read on their own. Yep, I need to do some changing.¬†
  • Seth Priebatsch in The Game Layer on Real Life talks about the Influence and Status gaming dynamic. He gives the example of kids taking and retaking a quiz until they pass. Essentially with standards based grading, this is what should be occurring because it is supposed to be about getting the kids to learn the standards in whatever way possible. We are moving to standards based grading, some teachers use it and some don’t at the moment, but kids are not buying it. Why do they buy replaying levels in a game to get a better score but not into retaking assessments? How can we get kids to “buy” into this?¬†

I could go on with my thoughts and revelations gaming has brought on but this has to end somewhere and I have some things to think about and consider in regards to gaming and its place in the classroom. I have been enlightened.