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Old and New Dimensions of Playing: Game Specifics of the Virtual World 1626
As Yuri Lotman once remarked, «the eternal is always covered in the apparel of time.» Children's play is not an exception. Despite cyber-monsters and extraterrestrial civilisations, plots in computer games turn out to be quite familiar to us. It is the virtual world of computer games that is completely new and unique. Perhaps one would say that the only difference is the form in which a play is being presented. But this results in a new type of one's involvement in play and determines the specificity of play behaviour as well as of perception. Computer games, video game consoles, the Internet, chats, instant messaging programmes, short message services — all these are now widely used by children and have at the same time changed the very image of childhood preserving only the outer appearance of cultural tradition. This paper focuses on the following issues: what is the true novelty of computer games? What's the core difference between them and the variety of games played by children at all times, all around the world? How does virtual reality affect children's play and socialisation? How do computer games affect the development of imagination? What are the real consequences of playing in a strictly determined algorithmic virtual world?
Keywords: computer games, role play, child development, virtuality
Column: Discussions and Discourses