The augmented reality readings this week got me thinking about one of my favorite movies of all time, The Game. [Spoiler Alert] The movie centers around a rich, isolated businessman (Michael Douglas) and events which transpire to turn his comfortable, secluded — if sad — life upside-down, spiraling out of control until he is marooned in Mexico, bankrupt, shot at and accidentally murders his brother to jump to his own death. But, in fact, neither he nor his brother die. This entire plot is a part of a game, unknown to the viewer, or to the main character, a game which is paid for by his brother and which profoundly alters the way in which the main character perceives life. What comes out of this in terms of our learning is first the way in which the game is profoundly immersive and engrained into his life. There is a long series of tests which the main character must endure under the guise of a “birthday present” to set-up the game for him. In terms of learning educational software it speaks to the difficulty of tailoring games for a vast array of learning styles and individuals. The augmented reality game in the movie is also a social experience, dependent on multiple actors and individuals, but also more fruitful for it. Also, perhaps most markedly, it is the profound ability of the augmented reality to reduce the risk of failure, to allow the character to kill and die, and be washed of both murder and reborn, that speaks to clearly to the advantage of games to alter us in deep levels without as much risk as the real world. Overall, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Advertisements