Sign up FAST! Login

White House office studies educational benefits of video games –

Stashed in: poli, games, people, Education Games, World of Warcraft

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

She's also researching how well existing games work and simply figuring out which agencies already use games. Shortly after arriving in Washington, she began querying colleagues about who was using games, even experimentally. Steinkuehler expected to hear from perhaps 20 people across the federal government. Her list ran to 130 names. She convened a summit and within 48 hours had offers from "a really mobilized group" to coordinate the government's gaming portfolio.

A self-proclaimed "siege princess" who cut her academic teeth playing and studying multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft and Lineage, Steinkuehler jokes that gaming has helped prepare her to lead such a broad effort across agency lines. "I was a guild leader for 3½ years online, so I've spent plenty of time sort of herding cats."

When they hear the phrase "video game," most Americans think Pac-Man or, more recently, Grand Theft Auto, a popular series that allows players to cut a wide swath of carnage if they choose. The 1999 Columbine High School shootings had a profound effect on Americans' views of video games: After the shootings, victims' families sued more than two dozen game makers, saying violent games such as Doom, a first-person shooter that the assailants played, desensitized them to gun violence. But the lawsuit was dismissed and subsequent research has cast doubt on direct links between video-game and real-life violence. More than a decade later, government and private enterprise have turned to video games repeatedly for training and education. More recently, a thriving genre of "serious games" has emerged, using video game mechanics to immerse players in history, science, civics and health, among other areas.


There's no time like the present.

You May Also Like: