17Boredom Is Not Your Enemy

Of the two of us, Reshan is the gamer. He enjoys video games, and has developed a discerning palate based on his understanding of his own learning style and the particular problems he enjoys solving.

The first time Reshan used Microsoft's Xbox original Kinect product (a camera and infrared motion sensor control for the gaming console), he was instantly engaged. He could swing his arm in a bowling motion and the character on the screen would bowl a ball. Interesting. Novel. Fun.

But soon he found that swinging his arm in the air and seeing a visual representation of the motion on a screen was not the way he most enjoyed playing a video game. The game did not become a narrative worth investing himself in continuously; he wasn't motivated to climb its particular levels or talk to his friends about how to approach problems within the game; he did not want to wear the logo of the game on a shirt to tell the world that he was not just a player, but a living, breathing extension of the game, someone who might run back through scenarios while waiting online or chatting with friends.

But why?

For one, as game scholars Katie Salen Tekinbas and Eric Zimmerman might say, the bowling game only offered him what game designers would call “discernibility,” wherein “the result of the game action is communicated to the player in a perceivable way” (Tekinbas & Zimmerman, 2003). Clearly, this game offered plenty of that.

It did not offer him an outcome that was “integrated,” ...

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