By James Paul Gee;Elisabeth R. Hayes

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The information comes “free,” so to speak, or without deliberate memorization 34 Women and Gaming or study, as it repeatedly gets recruited to solve problems the student passionately cares about. Shaffer’s students do passionately care because they have to face a real urban planner and not appear foolish, and, in any case, they are replanning their own community, something they feel strongly about. They are doing what adults do, just as if they were adults, and this is highly motivating. The fact that even commercial video games stress problem solving over content is not a problem.

We pointed out that many games are not violent, but some games are, and it is important to make our point with a challenging and notorious case. There is an interesting paradox with GTA. People in the media and politics tend to hate it, decrying its violence and some of the immoral things players can do in the game if they choose (like going to a prostitute or killing innocent people or policemen). Gamers, on the other hand, revere the game, but not because it is violent or immoral. GTA was not designed for children (as we mentioned earlier, all of the GTA games have an M rating and thus are designated as appropriate only for players at least seventeen or older), and they should not be playing it.

The Sims is a game where the player builds a family, neighborhood, and community and guides the lives and destinies of virtual people. Will Wright and the team of designers who create and support The Sims have made a deliberate effort to allow and encourage players to build and design Video Games and Twenty-First-Century Skills 39 all sorts of things for the game, becoming producers and designers. While professionals who created The Sims maintain a popular community Web site for Sims players, the players themselves have organized many other collaborative-learning communities that, at their best, exemplify a model for the reform of twenty-first-century learning and education.

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