Runescape University

- Show this to your parents
By Mangleman

Video games often come under attack and question because there is a fundamental misunderstanding between generational habits and lifestyles. Video games are often seen by the older generations as a diversion, completely devoid of value and merit. Many young generation adults such as myself are working hard to change this perception. Largely any generational issue can be solved by just allowing time to pass, as the video game generation comes in to power, popular perception will become much more positive. Until then we have to deal with an image problem from day to day. Gamers are seen as lazy and unmotivated.

Here is the official Runescape page about educational benefits of playing Runescape. Although the official article does raise some great points, I would like to do a little expanding on them.

Many players, myself included, play Runescape with a calculator and a note pad open. I calculate endlessly how many monsters I have left to slay for a certain experience level reward, how many herbs I need to gather to make a certain amount of money, how much damage I have done, how many dragons I have killed, and so on. Although simple multiplication on a calculator does not seem like a stunning education in math, it isn't that simple. Players unwittingly engage in probability assessments, and algebraic calculations. Players plan and see through complex plans wherein they will do "X Action 130 times, then Y action 50 times, then Z action 102 times" etc. They do these planning activities without a textbook and without complaint. Higher Math is just a complex way to arrange less complex ideas, by giving players something to organize and something to discover, Runescape is preparing them for some exciting and important Math concepts.

A Chinese proverb says:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Anything you want to know in life is available somewhere online. This is no different for Runescape information. There is an official web site, and many fan sites, all with slightly different coverage of the features of the game. Players traverse this vast array of information very quickly. Learning how to search for information is fundamentally more important than learning information in general. The only way to learn how to find the information you need is through practice. By giving players something to wonder about and something to research, the game inadvertently helps to fine-tune the player's research ability. This is a lifelong skill that will help a person in all aspects of their lives.

Creative Writing
If you look at the Archives of the Herald you will find 41 articles written without a school assignment, without parental guidance or obligation. Just a bunch of self-motivated people writing under their own motivation. All the articles are peer reviewed and discussed on an intellectual level before they are published.

The Herald is only one aspect of the creative writing inspired by Runescape. Many web sites feature a genre of writing called "Fan Fiction". Stories set in and starring characters from the world of Runescape. Some of these stories become extremely involved and very interesting, and again they are written for the love of writing and not for some school assignment.

I haven't even touched on the fact that the entire technology and structure behind this very article and the web site which contains it was driven by the desire of Runescape players to learn, explore, and create. This web site is the diligent effort of many young people, Runescape players who, thanks to a simple little video game have created vast and exciting things and have actually learned, practiced, and improved skills which are valuable in the real-world marketplace.

Runescape is actually quite sophisticated, and one of the things it has become is a voluntary self-education system. The human mind is constantly seeking knowledge and improvement, players of Runescape are no exception, and games are not always as fruitless as they seem.

Last update: 24-Feb-2008
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