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and cultural representations and experiences;
- Although they may be time-consuming, games can be a good topic for joint discus-
sions with family and friends;
- Team games promote the development of collaborative skills.
This variety of potential benefits represents one side of the coin. On the other side are
the risks of addiction and psychological abnormality. Some games, particularly blood-
thirsty first-person `shooters', develop super-quick reactions accompanied with an artifi-
cial increase in heart rates and adrenaline levels, which may pose a health risk.
Tabular overview
It is essential to bear in mind that heritage games need to find a niche market. Heritage
institutions cannot compete with the games industry by each year releasing new games
with increasing degrees of excitement and sophistication. Games look tired very fast, and
it is therefore essential that the underlying concepts are as robust as possible.
I n t ro d u c i n g t h e Te c h n o l o g y
Before development
The complexity of the games industry and product development would make it nec-
essary for cultural heritage institutions to partner with a game development company if
Games Technology
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Benefits
Risks
Developing specifi c skills (motor skills,
reasoning, spatial orientation).
Potential exposure to violence and sex
patterns before the mind is capable of
dealing with such issues.
Acquiring specialised knowledge in various
domains (history, geography, the arts).
Potentially habit-forming.
Improving language skills both for second
language acquisition and for native
speakers.
May be expensive to develop and require
highly skilled staff.
Presenting cultural heritage collections in a
new manner to a wide audience.
Can be good topic for social contacts.
Excessive use can stunt social
development.
Content is essential: could lead to
acquisition of new knowledge.
Content is essential: there is a risk of
misinformation through inaccurate subject
material.
Enjoyment, which is increasingly
important as the pace of life increases.