May 9, 2008

Literacy: Another Privilege to Access Games

Filed under:Education, Gamer Culture, Privilege — Lake Desire @ 10:58 am

Games are for kids, right? That’s a popular perception, or one gamers like myself seem to have about how nongamers see games.

But I’ve been playing Pokémon and Twilight Princess with my friend’s six year old son, and I find it amazing how much supposed “kids” games or kid friendly games rely on intensive reading skills. And Pokémon is a game I don’t find especially intellectually challenging, yet there is still a huge barrier dependent on reading to not only to intake the story but even navigate playing.

I appreciate games that are smart and well written and challenging. I don’t mind reading in my games. But I do want to note the high level of literacy necessary to comprehend and play games limits accessibility, even in supposed kids games. And kids aren’t the only folks around who aren’t great readers, especially with classism and racism in the U$ educational system that particularly unprepares poor folks and people of color to have the same reading skills as middle class white folks bred for college.

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