Ever since we figured out how to stream YouTube on our TV, I have been watching a ton more videos. And while I certainly follow my share of Let’s Players and Game Reviewers, one of my favourite things about YouTube is the shocking amount of well produced educational content. One of my favourite educational channels (next to the Green brothers’ Crash Course & Emily Graslie’s The Brain Scoop) is the PBS produced Idea Channel, featuring the adorkably cute hipster-nerd Mike Rugnetta.
Each video opens with Mike posing a seemingly loaded question about something in the pop culture which he then uses philosophy and history to break down and edumacate. While some of my friends have complained that Mike speaks too fast for them to understand, for those of us “of the internet,” it’s usually not a problem.
Now, being that I am such a super fan of Mike and Idea Channel, I was mega-stoked when PBS launched the PBS Game/Show late last year. Idea Channel often deals with video game subjects, but an entire show full of the thought provoking and well researched discussions about video games seemed too good to be true. And so it was.
For some reason, Game/Show never seems to rise to the same level of well structured and cited rhetoric that Idea Channel does for me. Too many assumptions are made, terms are never properly defined, or defined too generally. In short, it never really rises much above the current level of discourse in mainstream gaming media and usually inspires me to yell and throw my controller at the screen in frustration.
Fortunately, Mike continues to use video game themes in his Idea Channel videos, of which I will now share my 5 favourite:
Controlling vs. “Being” Your Video Game Avatar
A brilliant starting point in the discussion on immersion in games. It also gets into some interesting territory I’ve explored when talking about FemShep or sexual orientation in BioWare RPGs.
Can Video Games Become the Next Great Spectator Sport
While I know my share of competitive gamers, I’m still skeptical of the broader appeal of e-sports in general. This video does a great job of explaining why I feel this way, beyond my generation gap.
Is Buying Call of Duty a Moral Choice?
An excellent, TLDR recap of this amazing article on the licensing of actual gun models and the ethical quandary this could create for people who don’t like guns IRL. All without being shaming or judgy.
Is Minecraft the Ultimate Educational Tool?
Say what you will about gamification in the classroom, but a ubiquitous free tool that can be modded to teach almost anything? There’s a lot that we can learn from games.
Top 5 Most Artful Video Games
Wherein Mike Rugnetta offers an alternate reading of the much maligned Heavy Rain and totally spoils FF VII for the two of you who haven’t played it yet.