Video games played on tv were just coming out when I was growing up. The first game we had was Pong. It was a big clunky box with 2 spinner knobs that had to plug into the back of the television so you had to sit very close to the tv. We loved it! James Gee explains learning principles in his book relating to video game design and how we learning while playing the games. For some reason even though there was no customization, no identity, no differentiation, and no co-design (all Gee principals) we still were drawn to play for hours. It could be only be two-player and everyone wanted to be the best. I think I even remember trying to play myself. It was new technology.
The first game I tried online was actually The Blood Typing Game. I have no idea how I found it but it’s from Nobelprize.org so I thought it might be good to try. I didn’t read anything ahead, I just jumped right in. You choose a game type & I selected Quick game-random patients because I didn’t know how long the mission based game would last. So you’re given 3 car crash victims that you have to figure out what blood type they are in order to give them the correct blood for a transfusion to save their lives. A “cartoon catatonic” patient is lying there with a big syringe above where you must draw blood & then empty it into the vials to figure out the blood type. I, not knowing anything about blood type, just kept guessing at first. After a few patients I started clicking around & found information on what’s in the blood to help type it. And I made some educated guesses. I hadn’t lost a patient yet but I had several tries to get it correct. After 2 rounds I decided to read about a blood type from a tutorial. So now I think I’m ready. I keep trying and then figure out which blood types accept which other types of blood for transfusion. It was a great learning experience.
There is some identity with this game. I think it would be great for people interested in the medical field, but once you got it I think the game would get old. If you’re looking at this from a medical student needing to learn it inside and out it would be a great game to test yourself in timing how fast you can transfuse the patient with the correct blood bags. It’s kind of funny. There’s not really any customization or manipulation or any principles in those likes, so it’s not a very long-lived, go-back-and-play-for-hours kind of game. I think I’ll look for something more involved to try next, just no shooting & killing. I hate those games.
Gee, J.P. (2007) Good video games + good learning : collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. Chapter 4: Good video games, the human mind, and good learning. New York : Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.