Backed by a $150,000 grant from the Spencer Foundation, the Educational Games Group: Play, Literacies, Avatars, Narrative and Technology Video Games Research Lab (EGGPLANT) had its grand opening in March.
"When top video games are released, they make more money than a top movie," says Professor John Black, who co-directs EGGPLANT with Professor Charles Kinzer. "We're looking at their impact on how people see the world and also hoping to harness their technology for educational purposes."
The field of game studies is gaining acceptance at universities nationwide through works such as What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, by education researcher James Gee of the University of Wisconsin. Many academics - Black included - deplore the violence and sexism of many commerical video games and remain skeptical that games can improve learning. But Black believes more research could uncover the medium's potential.