From Simulation to Imitation Controllers, Corporeality, and Mimetic Play (Simulation & Gaming, 2014)
is a very interesting conceptual paper on how advances in controller-technologies and gaming systems present new learning potentials in gaming experiences. The authors argue "digital gameplay undergoes an epistemological shift when player and game interactions are no longer restricted to simulations of actions on a screen, but instead support embodied imitation as a central element of gameplay".
This shift continues to challenge our ideas of gaming, learning and one of the most challenging research topics of transference in the learning sciences. While scholars have been trying to understand how skills performed in simulation games can transfer to real life contexts, new controller technologies push researchers to explore how learning through haptic and embodied imitation (e.g. Wii or Microsoft Kinect games) can improve real world task performance. For instance, does (and if yes, how) playing Wii sports improve the player's real world sport skills?
Below is another quote that explores the blurring boundaries of gaming, learning and performance:
"How then might these mimetic interfaces, as controllers for imitation in video games, shift from being controllers of gameplay to becoming actual interfaces for authentic cultural production? For example, where and how might mimetic activity in video games connect to composing and performing authentic musical artifacts, or to choreographing and sharing a dance, climbing route, or athletic routine? In this context, video game players assume both individual and collaborative roles as composers or designers, where what they design, make, and perform might be seen as artworks, or as game challenges, or as both, for other player-composers." (p.16)
This might also be an interesting dimension to consider as we continue to think about new learning experiences and research for the 4th floor learning theater project.