4. H- How Will We Go About Finding Out?

I feel like parts 3 and 4 are very interconnected.  In part 3, I introduced a number of technology tools that could drive a number of sub-questions that teachers and students could identify.  Since the tools will also be helping us to solve those mysteries, I could just as easily have put them in this section as well.  But rather than copy-and-paste all of that stuff all over again, I would ask that you refer back to the part 3 tools as examples of programs that will help us solve our sub-questions and our overriding themes.

Of course, there are other methods for finding out about the inner workings of video games, too.  Here are a few examples that I would like to pursue if I were doing this project in real life.

People

Video games are the work of hundreds, in some cases thousands, of people working together on various areas of game design, including animation, programming, graphics, story, and marketing.  With some video games approaching and even surpassing movies in terms of budgets, including Destiny's estimated $500 budget (Karmali, "Destiny is a $500 million gamble for Activision, says Kotick," 2014), video game production is big business, and a growing source of employment.  There are lots of people out there who make video games for a living, and I'm sure I could find at least a few willing to talk with a group of aspiring designers about what they do.

The Internet

Kids (and adults) spend lots of time researching video games online, especially if they're looking for ways to beat a game they are getting pummeled in (I believe the correct nomenclature is "rekt").  Surely, there is more than enough information about how those games are made and how they work, too.  Here's an interesting idea:  much like how we have students make research presentations about historical figures and elements in the Periodic Table, what if we had students make research presentations about a video game that they chose?

I'll take this opportunity to introduce another resource.  Although it deals more with animation in film, there might be some applications to video games as well.  "Pixar in a Box" is a collection of videos and activities compiled by Khan Academy that teaches you about the basics of what goes into a Pixar film.  This might be a good resource (and I say might, because I haven't spent a lot of time with it) for learning about animation in video games.

Playing Video Games in the Classroom

Assuming your administration is okay with this, why not?  We talk about kids needing to learn by doing, and if we're learning about video games, shouldn't we play them?  There are lots of opportunities for critical thinking and examination of video games, much like there are in film and literature.

And, assuming my technology folks are okay with it (and I'm a technology folk, so of course it's okay), why not have your students bring in some video games, and have them teach the class about how to play those games and what components and mechanics make it unique?  Of course, I would do some research and pre-approve these games before hand.  Don't want any Grand Theft Autos sneaking through!