Future of Gaming and Digital Scholarship

“The Most Dangerous Gamer”

“Never mind that they’re now among the most lucrative forms of entertainment in America, video games are juvenile, silly, and intellectually lazy. At least that’s what Jonathan Blow thinks. But the game industry’s harshest critic is also its most cerebral developer, a maverick bent on changing the way we think about games and storytelling. With his next release, The Witness, Blow may cement his legacy—or end his career. In a multibillion-dollar industry addicted to laser guns and carnivorous aliens, can true art finally flourish.”


“I think the mainstream game industry is a &%$&-up den of mediocrity,” he told me. “There are some smart people wallowing in there, but the environment discourages creativity and strength and rigor, so what you get is mostly atrophy.”

Myself – I’m into museum studies, digital curation, digital archiving, physical archives….and to a lesser extent gaming. But I was once very hooked.  It’s the storytelling, participation and interaction, problem-solving, exploration, information organizing and collecting…all those drives are powerful not just for learning – but for collaborative learning and knowledge-production.

While there is a brilliant but lonely genius to the games of Jonathan Blow…there is something different at play with the studio – http://www.secondstory.com/ – something that connects to and inspires cognitive activity beyond solitary puzzle-solving…

When I think of what is stored in archival repositories like the Harry Ransom Center – and so many other museums – I think about the possibilities of bridging the power of interactive ‘gaming’ with the exploration of Art and Archives. When I recall powerful museum exhibits that transformed me… I think, what can be done to carry gaming further? I am certain that we are only at the beginning, the first steps of realizing what these techological ‘toys’ and digitization methods can ‘do’ for our creative records. We are in an age where there is a simultaneous need to preserve and to integrate knowledge so that we can solve so many of humanity’s problems. The evolution of gaming may hold the key.