Monday, 6 December 2004 | Playing to win: showing that computer games do have practical uses, albeit as yet questionable in value. I think there's a lot to be said for these games in terms of honing decision-making ability: they give you a dynamic situation and, much like real life, a plethora of possibilities, none of which is guaranteed success. Books and case studies are too static, and are often too imprecise - was it simply the fateful decision in question, or was there an unaccounted-for event that caused that path of action? But, are these games realistic? No. Atmospheric, yes. Entertaining, exciting and emotive - yes. But realistic?
Isn't there a danger that such games blur the line with reality enough to entertain and beguile, but not enough to convey the horrors and the dangers? Fooling the head, but not the heart may create a worrying imbalance for tomorrow's soldiers. (See the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card for a fascinating study of this).
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