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Warcraft, Portal and the scientific habit of mind

November 17, 2011

I’ve got a new article on the Wellcome Trust blog looking at the scientific habit of mind and how games like Warcraft and Portal can help with this:

I believe that the scientific habit of mind can be widely found within gaming. All video games present the player with a virtual space to be explored. The laws of nature within that space start as a mystery to the player and they must engage in a series of trial-and-error experiments to probe and understand that world and gradually build up a predictive model of how this virtual world operates and how the player can thrive within. This ‘gameplay’ is akin to the scientific method.

In Portal 2, for example, the player finds themselves in a room and must solve its puzzles in order to exit. Puzzles take the form of an increasingly complex series of switches, lasers, locks, springs and fluids. To assist the player in solving each puzzle, they are equipped with a ‘portal gun’ – a device that fires two connected portals that allow objects, lasers, people and more to pass between two points.

Full article. (Past articles here include one on Deus Ex:Human Revolution)

Portal 2 screenshot

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