We are excited to be able to interview Asst. Professor Jesse Schell on the SocialShield blog. He is the Assistant Professor of Entertainment Technology at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. If you have not done so already, check out Jesse Schell’s video on YouTube on the future of gaming. It’s funny and insightful – and completely eye-opening with it its predictions on how games are creeping into our everyday lives.
SSI: How did you get into gaming?
JS: I was always interested in playing games, and when I was 12, I started making my own computer games, but that was always a hobby. In graduate school, I did a lot of virtual reality work, and that eventually led to a position making games at Disney.
SSI: As you have pointed out, online gaming is becoming increasingly social, sophisticated, pervasive, and real: is this all good or are there risks that we should be concerned about?
JS: There are certainly risks. These new games will create avenues for advertisers to get to us in new, potentially unhealthy ways. Also, the integration of games into life can make it hard to draw a line between work and play, and make it easier to get distracted from your important work into distracting play.
SSI: Cyberbullying has become a big concern since the recent suicide at Rutgers. Are games — both on- and offline — at risk of bullying?
JS: Games definitely have this risk — they are an opportunity to judge one another, and that can be a place that bullying might begin.
SSI: Besides Russian Roulette, are there any games that parents should not let their kids play? If so, why?
JS: Parents should not let their children play any game that has content or situations that they don’t feel the child is emotionally ready to deal with yet.
SSI: Do you have any rules at home – either for yourself or kids – when it comes to gaming?
JS: I certainly do for my daughter. She can only play games that my wife and I have checked out in advance, and she shouldn’t play “too much.” What “too much” means depends on the context — is there homework? Is it raining out? Etc.
SSI: Anything else on your mind these days?
JS: Ha! That’s got to be the most open-ended question I’ve ever heard! Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about whether games increase or decrease children’s creativity…I think my conclusion is that the newer games do more and more to increase it – and I hope this is a trend that continues!