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Pwning n00bz in the classroom

By Hayden McBennett, September 25 2014 —

Students with a zest for video games should look no further than the University of Calgary’s course on the history of video games.

Topics in Art (Arts 311), taught by professor Rob Furr, teaches the origins and effects of the games that shaped the modern gaming industry.

Furr’s research explores the “fundamental human need being addressed” by gaming.

He said the course has something to offer students in every faculty.

“I hope the business majors will realize that there is art in video games. The arts majors will realize it’s also a business. And I want the psychology majors to understand game playing is not just recreation,” Furr said.

Furr acknowledged that while a course about video games might seem like an easy A, understanding the allure of gaming is important.

“[It’s] literally to the point where three or four people a year will die because they refuse to get up from playing their game. When something appeals to you so much that you will make your kidneys shut down, there’s something we need to understand,” Furr said.

While the course explores the roots of gaming, Furr also relates it to modern issues.

Furr explains and examines the western world’s gaming habits and how extended exposure to video-game culture relates to extremism.

“People who are the most dedicated soldiers for ISIS, a lot of them are from Western cultures and played massive amounts of combat video games. Being in ISIS and playing these games is clearly satisfying some need,” Furr said.


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