Video games are powerful tools of having a network of gamers who enjoy, learn and share each others' common goals and experiences. Whether it is violent or not, these gamers look for their respective identities and take a number of hours in order to alleviate their status and be recognized in the affinity groups. It is amazing to know that people all over the world can have communities of players that can communicate through chatting by typing and talking through their headsets. As long as you have the right gadgets, you are ready to go. I also knew that some of these games are really expensive. However, they do not mind at all because in playing they feel ownership of their respective identities. Moreover, they can also express themselves. They can explore, make, and recreate. They feel that they belong. It is also interesting to know on how players are so affected to the game like the story of a 15-year old boy who's name is Adrian. When he died in the game EverQuest, he kept murmuring, "I'm going to die," as if he is going to die for real. He really tried hard to be resurrected by communicating to his playmates.
I also agree with Gee's point about the social mind - if the human mind is a powerful pattern recognizer-and the evidence very much suggests it is-then what is most important about thinking is not that it is "mental," something happening inside our heads, but rather that it is social, something attuned to and normed by the social groups to which we belong or seek to belong. As human beings, we do everything that we can in order to be accepted, appreciated, and recognized in the group just like the affinity groups in video games. If we affiliate ourselves in a group like a network of teachers, we are trying our best to be updated and even go back to school for graduate studies. We do not want to stop learning. If we join professional networks, we also learn more from each others' experiences. This makes networking a powerful source of knowledge.
With my RCT 3 experience, the principle that is reflected in my game is Insider Principle - the learner is an "insider," "teacher," and "producer" (not just a "consumer") able to customize the learning experience and domain/game from the beginning and throughout the experience. RCT 3 allows me explore and create my own amusement park. With this, it gives me freedom where I can put my rides, stalls, and facilities. As I achieved the tycoon stage, it gives me a sense of fulfillment that I made it!
Dispersed Principle and Affinity Group Principle
I would like to use one of the groups that I joined in Facebook - Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA). I knew about this when we had our workshop in Washington, D.C. last December 2008. Out of 420 participants, it was difficult to reach them all. With this, the FLTA network in Facebook allows us to share each others' experiences. Even if this is a diverse group, it never hinder us to share each others' interest. This network also allows us to share some strategies on how to teach our languages to non-native speakers. I learn a lot from them. With the use of this technology, the world is not far beyond me.