Childhood is the best part of our life and something which makes it even more interesting is the games which we play. Indian kids play a variety of indoor and outdoor games that not are not only fun for them but also build their social skills. Special Topics In Gameology explores a specific corner of the gaming world in a miniseries of articles. For this edition of the feature—School—we’re examining the ways games interpret the classroom experience and become classrooms themselves.Woe to the medical student who plays Surgeon Simulator instead of studying and goes on to be sued for gross malpractice after accidentally sawing open a patient’s lungs.
Rest in peace to the aspiring skater who, emboldened by Rob Dyrdek’s proclamation that playing Skate is equivalent to learning how to skateboard, jumps on a board for the first time and tragically breaks their spine in 11 places. If your house was burning down, would you trust a firefighter whose only training came from playing Super Mario Sunshine?In January, I bought my very first camera, and if I’m being honest, it was a purchase partly inspired by my bottomless fondness for photography mini-games. Over the last several console generations, controllers have been evolving to better accommodate first-person shooters: their twin joysticks enabling simultaneous movement and aiming and their shoulder buttons deliberately evoking triggers.
If games’ fixation on pointing and shooting was in service of more naturalistic gunplay, was it possible that their depiction of photography has been equally well served? Games had brought me to photography, but had they actually taught me anything useful about it? I’m too green to tell, so I enlisted an expert.Felix Russo is the editor and publisher of PhotoEd magazine, and he taught photography at George Brown College in Toronto for 13 years. It was there that he gave me the only formal photography training I’ve ever received—everything I know about photography, I learned either from him or from video games. If ever I had a question about learning how to take a great photograph, he’s the man I’d want to ask. The player is a wildlife photographer visiting an island of absurd geographical diversity to collect photos of wild Pokemon. After every level, you return to the lab of Professor Oak, who offers you a score and constructive criticism on any photographs you opt to show him.


He assigns a high value to shots in which the subject is centered, fills the frame, appears with other specimens—that sort of stuff. He’ll hand out huge bonuses for photographs depicting subjects engaging in interesting or unusual behavior, and earning the highest possible score requires seeking out these rare shots. That would, by my rules, score higher.”Pokemon Snap’s scoring system seems to support this. While you earn a flat point bonus for capturing rare or strange activity, your reward for ensuring your subject is centered in the frame is to have your score outright doubled.
Professor Oak will offer you 1,000 points right off the bat for a picture of a Pikachu on a surfboard, but the only way to get that shot is to lure the critter onto the board with food. Felix invoked National Geographic’s infamous manipulation of Gordon Gahan’s shot of the Pyramids Of Giza as an example of what not to do. The Camera Obscura, modeled off old daguerreotype cameras, is used throughout the series to combat angry ghosts. Fighting lost souls in Fatal Frame is as easy as lining them up in your viewfinder and snapping photos, but you can increase the amount of damage your shots deal by keeping ghouls in frame to build up your shot’s “mystical power.” To really bust some ghosts, you’ll want to seek out rare Shutterbug Moments, brief instants during spirits’ attacks where they’re susceptible to critical hits. There are, especially in action photography, situations where you say, ‘This is the critical moment or the decisive moment for this picture,’ and anything else won’t work.” The stakes may not be as high as they are in Fatal Frame, but catching these moments is just as important to your shot and the window of opportunity is just as small. In both Fatal Frame and real life the answer is the same: a combination of practice and intuition.
The trick is to know what you’re looking for before it’s even there for you to see, whether you’re searching for a vulnerability in an enemy’s attack pattern or a perfectly composed photograph. And as you gain more expertise, of course, your chances of success improve… It’s not simply, ‘Oh, you got lucky.’ You can’t say Cartier-Bresson was a lucky guy. Taking a photograph in Life Is Strange entails putting main character Max Caulfield in the right place at the right time, at which point you’ll be given the opportunity to snap a shot. It’s the game’s way of putting players in the role of a character whose skill with a camera is admired or envied by everyone she meets, but this system also posits that the most important part of photography is knowing what and when to shoot.


Aspiring photographers whose main takeaway from Life Is Strange is that they should “always take the shot” run the risk of snapping up every opportunity that comes their way in the hopes that if they shoot enough, they’ll eventually get something good. Shooting a finite roll of film means you don’t have unlimited mulligans to get a shot right, so you’re forced to either learn the craft or throw money away on ruined photos. But sometimes it’s a detriment because you get people shooting and not giving any thought to composition or anything.
He isn’t trying to creatively express himself with his photographs; he’s trying to turn heads, keep people’s attention, and stay in shoe leather while he’s at it.
A picture is considered good if there is a lot of stuff happening in it—the gorier, scarier, and sexier the better—and good photographs reward Frank with “prestige points.” Collect enough prestige points and Frank levels up, becoming permanently heartier and learning new combat techniques. It’s a mercenary depiction of photography, but Frank is a mercenary guy, a gun-for-hire with a camera instead of a weapon.The most interesting facet of Dead Rising’s photography is the strong line it draws from taking photographs to becoming a stronger character.
In real life, shooting pictures is not going to enable you to run faster or live longer, but broadly speaking, can practicing photography improve other aspects of your life?
It might make me more aware of nature, and that’s a good thing, but I don’t know which comes first. There’s a game called Lumosity that is supposed to help with memory, but evidence shows that playing the game more just makes you a better gamer—does this mean your memory is indeed better?”It’s a fair point, and it also cuts right to the heart of the question of games’ viability as teaching tools.
Simulations of photography can impart important lessons about how to approach the craft or about what hypothetically constitutes a good shot.
They can demonstrate with bonus points the value of choosing an interesting subject or finding the decisive moment by elevating it to a matter of life and death.
If games are going to have an expanded role in the future of education, it should be as interactive textbooks—purveyors of wisdom and advice that can provide guidance and structure for practice but never replace it.



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