Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Library Murder Mystery

What:  Library Murder Mystery
When:  April 10, 2012
When:  10 PM-Midnight
Where:  Carmichael Library

Once again, we have synergy between the University of Montevallo Game Studies Program (or here for their vibrant Facebook page) and the Carmichael Library!  As it turns out, there's much overlap between the concepts of game theory and the process of seeking and evaluating information.  Fun may be the unifying principle.

Photo designed by JR Burt

We encourage you to join us next week, April 10 and under a shroud of darkness at the Carmichael Library, to delve into a murder mystery.  You'll engage in some fact-finding, information discovery, database navigation, and critical thinking to help resolve (or at least illuminate) one of Montevallo's most notorious murders.  UM's own library faculty and game studies students have designed an experience that will change the way you think about accessing knowledge.

How is a murder mystery event related to game studies?  As I have mentioned in other posts on this blog, gaming imparts many lessons that are valuable for learners.  Games help us accept failure as a normal part of the learning and information-seeking process.  They reward critical thinking and collaboration, and they teach us that an ethic of play is one of the most important aspects of addressing life's challenges.  These benefits have been noted since the early days of game studies scholarship.  For instance, in a 2004 article in Game Studies, Stewart Woods argues that "social simulation" games like murder mysteries have immense potential to facilitate learning in ways that traditional modes of education do not:
Simulations offer the player the opportunity to engage with a dynamic system from an experientialperspective and a significant amount of this direct involvement is provided by the freedom to interact with, and have control over, the simulated system.  Indeed, there is consistent agreement among designers and researchers over the important role of interactivity and control within games as a factor which delineates them from most other media forms. 
In other words, games create an immersive environment in which participants can encounter and process problems with unique focus, dedication, and collaboration.

Of course, this murder mystery would not be a good game, or a good use of game theory, if it did not promise lavish rewards.  There will be prizes, food, and awesome T-shirts available to those who participate.

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