Alan Kay is a computer scientist who was the head of Atari’s research center at the beginning of the 1980s, during the golden age of digital gaming, as digital games started to take the Western world by storm. He was among the first researchers to recognize the emergence of an entirely innovative medium that would be fundamentally different from all previous media, for it would offer a new way to represent, communicate, and animate thoughts, dreams and fantasies through compelling words, images, and sounds. 1 Cf. Rheingold: Tools for Thought. 2000, P. 243. He worked towards the development of grand interactive experiences that would allow players to explore digital worlds and be the main characters in their own epic adventures. Digital games were on their way to become much more than a novel application of the newly developed computing power. As Kay realized early on, they were bound to become new ways to experiment and explore ideas.
Kay’s main objective, as head of the Atari research team, was to develop games that would engage human creativity and offer new ways to generate knowledge, “a dynamic medium for creative thought” 2 Rheingold: Tools for Thought. 2000, P. 233. that would be as thought-provoking as other intellectual activities, such as reading. Thirty years later the gaming world has matured so much that Kay would be pleased to see that what he sought to achieve in the early days of digital games has become a reality. Digital games are leisure activities, but they can also be a social commentary, a political statement, or a scientific contribution. We are witnessing the transformative effect of digital games in the practices of creation and transmission of knowledge. Consequently, they have changed not only the way people play and spend free time but also how they learn and interact with others.
In order to understand how digital games have a profound impact on our epistemological practices, the concept of the cognitive artifact can be useful, as it describes the specific influence of a group of artifacts in the development of cognitive abilities involved in the creation of knowledge. Cognitive artifacts help to exercise thinking skills, such as abstract thought and problem-solving. Digital games have a unique potential to stimulate cognitive processes because of their inherently participatory nature in engaging virtual environments, thus fostering new approaches to learning and research. Furthermore, there are specific digital games, such as Foldit, that were effectively designed as ways to represent and communicate knowledge, and they are purposely aiding in the advancement of actual scientific research.
In this paper, I analyze digital games in their fundamental role as cognitive artifacts that promote new ways of formulating and transmitting knowledge in collaborative communities. This article draws on the contributions of Donald Norman and Philip Brey, who use the term cognitive artifact to designate artifacts that represent and manipulate information. The use of these artifacts enhances human cognitive abilities, such as abstract thought and problem-solving. I use the term cognitive artifact to conceptualize digital games, for they allow players to explore new ways of thinking, which in turn prompts new ways of generating and communicating knowledge through their virtual worlds. In addition, computer games encourage a participatory culture that can create different kinds of collaborative communities whose main purpose is the generation of knowledge. A fitting example is the creation of Foldit, an online game released in 2008 and developed by the Center for Game Science and the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Washington. This paper shows that digital games, such as Foldit, can be studied as digital artifacts that are contributing to new practices of science, therefore changing the way we can create and communicate knowledge.
In the first section of this article, I explore the Foldit phenomenon, pointing out the main reasons behind the game’s conception and how it has contributed to ongoing research on protein folding. In the second section, I analyze the concept cognitive artifact, and how digital games can be examined as devices that are positively changing intellectual tasks and enhancing cognitive abilities. In the third section, I examine the notion of collaboration, for certain digital games can promote the creation of epistemological communities that work together to participate in the construction of new knowledge by solving scientific problems, such as the Foldit community. Collaboration to reach a common epistemological goal entails the formulation of knowledge that otherwise would be difficult to achieve with a single individual. Throughout the paper, I will be constantly addressing how Foldit is a fitting example of digital games seen as cognitive artifacts that foster collaboration among players to reach a common scientific objective. This game has proven to be a successful experiment that shows the positive effects of incorporating digital games into actual research, providing some future direction for their adoption as useful research tools in other scientific and epistemological endeavors.
The Foldit Phenomenon: Solving Puzzles for Science
Foldit is a digital game that allows players to significantly contribute to actual ongoing research by solving protein puzzles. It also signals the emergence of new epistemological practices, such as the incorporation of digital games to scientific research. In other words, scientists are now exploring how to do research through play, by recruiting the intellectual prowess of players. The Foldit phenomenon includes both the game created for the discovery of new protein structures, but also the community formed by scientists, players, and game designers that share a common goal: to make significant breakthroughs in protein folding through a collaborative effort by using a digital game. The meticulous analysis of the Foldit phenomenon will shed light on why it has been such a thriving venture, and how it has encouraged a growing integration of digital games in research.
Foldit is a multiplayer online scientific discovery game in which players create accurate protein structure models. Proteins are extremely important molecules for they are the scaffolding and the machinery of every cell in all forms of life known to humans. In other words, they are the essence of biological life. Therefore, protein folding is a very important topic in biochemistry. Predicting protein structures is a central goal for biochemists because the discovery of protein structures allows them to understand their functions. 3 Cf. Cooper et al: The challenge of designing scientific discovery games. 2000, P. 3. The study of the functions and structures of proteins has a huge impact particularly in medical research, as the examination of protein structures creates opportunities for the development of new antibiotics that can dramatically improve our quality of life, as well as a better understanding of diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. The use of computational models is highly useful to observe protein structures and create accurate models. However, scientists soon realized that the discovery of new protein structures and protein folding itself could be seen as a scientific puzzle, and they came up with the idea of developing a digital game to encourage players to participate in their research.
The main motivation behind the creation of Foldit was to combine players’ pattern-recognition and puzzle-solving abilities with the computational powers of Rosetta, the software used for pattern-folding tasks. Foldit players have contributed with unique solutions to the research questions addressed by scientists, regarding how specific proteins fold and the kind of structures they have. Foldit is labeled as a scientific discovery game 4Cf. Cooper et al: The challenge of designing scientific discovery games. 2000, P. 1. for it transforms difficult scientific problems regarding protein folding into puzzles, providing ludic structures, such as tutorials and a reward system, so that players can come up with innovative solutions to these problems in a playful context.
Anybody can play Foldit, as no expertise or even previous knowledge in the field of biochemistry is required. The game consists in manipulating a given protein structure by analyzing its components and figuring out how they can best fit together. The game provides instant feedback to let players know if they have achieved an accurate protein structure. As any other commercial digital game, Foldit has a series of tutorials and beginner levels, so that players can learn the basics of protein folding and become familiarized with protein structures, as well as certain properties of this process, such as avoiding empty spaces within the structure of the protein and keeping certain chains from coming into contact with water. Once players have mastered the introductory levels, they can tackle actual scientific problems and contribute to ongoing research. The game features a reward system with player scores to signal the quality of their folding in order to motivate them to find more accurate and superior structures. In addition, they are encouraged to share their notes and recipes with other players for the benefit of all.
Foldit allows players to automate certain operations in protein folding to minimize grinding during the game, which allows them to focus on coming up with creative, innovative ways to fold a protein. These are called recipes, scripts that allow the automation of repetitive tasks. These tools help players to find better shapes by performing automated protein folding moves, such as “wiggle (gradient-based energy minimization) and shake (combinatorial side chain rotamer packing).” 5 Khatib, Firas et al: Algorithm Discovery by Protein Folding Game Players. 2011, P. 18949. These recipes can be shared and edited by members of the Foldit community to find better strategies for protein folding.
The main objective while playing Foldit is to create accurate protein structures. However, sometimes proteins do not have a known structure, so players have an additional challenge to face: they are met with a puzzle whose solution is sometimes not known to the game designers and scientists in charge of the project. From a game design standpoint, Foldit is a unique game, for it features puzzles whose solution is unknown. However, the game must provide the players with all the necessary tools so that they can achieve the ultimate goal: find new accurate protein structures that can then, in turn, be analyzed by scientists to incorporate in their research on proteins. The diversity of folding algorithms is crucial in ongoing research that has yet to uncover the secrets of new protein structures. Players have shown to be an invaluable part of this research project, as the methods for protein folding they propose, as well as the new protein structures they discover, are promptly analyzed and incorporated into protein engineering research. In addition, players have sometimes outperformed scientists in protein folding tasks. Both players and scientific experts developed a similar algorithm over the same period of time. 6 Cf. Khatib, Firas et al: Algorithm Discovery by Protein Folding Game Players. 2011, P. 18953. Both algorithms produced the desired result, that is, to achieve faster and more effective energy optimization, but it was noted that the algorithm discovered by players was more efficient. The fact that a digital game, namely Foldit, is such a crucial element of this scientific project, can lead us to analyze the important role of digital games in the development of players’ cognitive skills, as well as their influence in our intellectual practices.
Digital Games as Cognitive Artifacts: The Power of Play
Players have outstanding problem-solving abilities that have been developed and sharpened through years of playing digital games. Are digital games contributing to the development of players’ cognitive abilities? What is the cognitive impact of this captivating activity that has stimulated the minds of millions of players around the world? The artifacts that deeply influence our intellectual tasks can be conceptualized as cognitive artifacts, and digital games, just as Alan Kay imagined decades ago, have become influential tools for the development of players’ cognitive abilities and the generation of knowledge. The scientists and game designers that created Foldit have provided us with an outstanding example of what humans can accomplish with the appropriate design of the tools that will help them perform intellectual tasks. The technological artifacts that aid in epistemological activities, any activity whose main purpose is the creation of new knowledge, are conceptualized with the term cognitive artifact proposed by Donald A. Norman, a cognitive scientist and usability engineer who has done extensive research on the relationship between humans and their artifacts. His background in these two fields has led him to investigate the substantial influence technological artifacts have in the development of human cognitive abilities. He argues that one of the most important ways in which human intelligence has been developed is through the creation of artifacts that allow humans to overcome their natural limitations. 7 Cf. Norman: Things that Make Us Smart. 1993, P. 146. This, in turn, results in novel interactions with the world. Artifacts permeate most of human interactions with their environment, from clothing to protect us from harsh weather to vehicles that allow us to travel longer distances and discover new parts of the world. Among the artifacts that humans have created, cognitive artifacts deserve special recognition because they are responsible for the intellectual development of humans.
Norman proposes the term cognitive artifact to designate the particular kind of artifacts that enhance human cognitive abilities, all the skills that aid in the understanding of the world and the formulation of knowledge. He defines a cognitive artifact as “an artificial device designed to maintain, display, or operate upon information in order to serve a representational function.” 8 Norman: Cognitive Artifacts. 1991, P. 1. One of the most important aspects of cognitive artifacts is that they are a novel way “to represent, store, retrieve, and manipulate information.” 9 Brey: Technology as Extension of Human Faculties. 2000, P. 15. Text, for example, is one of the most influential and effective cognitive artifacts. The development of the written word allowed humans to represent ideas in a visual device that could be easily accessed by others. This, in turn, enabled humans to analyze and question ideas, thus enabling the development of conceptual thought and abstract thinking, crucial skills for the advancement of science.
Philip Brey, a philosopher of technology, builds upon Norman’s concept of cognitive artifacts, and he explores how “cognitive artifacts extend cognitive abilities, such as abstract thought, memory, problem-solving, and language use.” 10Brey: Technology as Extension of Human Faculties. 2000, P. 15. In other words, cognitive artifacts enhance human cognitive abilities. For example, telescopes and microscopes are artifacts that extend human vision, and in doing so, they unveiled novel aspects of the world, creating new fields of study and prompting humans to pose new questions, look for novel answers, and question previous knowledge. Consequently, cognitive artifacts amplify the cognitive power of human thought by expanding the limits of the human mind. Cognitive artifacts have had an essential role in shaping human cognitive abilities, thus improving our understanding of the world.
The development of cognitive skills is crucial for the progress of science. As our cognitive abilities improve, we are able to discover new elements in our world that were previously unknown or obscure to us. Abstract thought is one of the most important skills that contributes to the creation of new knowledge. It can be defined as the ability to arrive at new conceptual structures, such as innovative ideas, through the modification, be it the analysis or synthesis, of existing knowledge. 11 Cf. Brey: The epistemology and ontology of human-computer interaction. 2005, P. 388. Scholars eagerly take on the perpetual task of making original contributions to existing knowledge by studying the big questions and answers of science and humanities. Problem-solving is a crucial skill when dealing with a scientific question, and it allows us to design strategies to overcome obstacles and difficult situations, to analyze ideas, propose solutions, and pose new questions. Brey argues that our cognitive artifacts aid and enhance our problem-solving skills when they offer an accurate representation of the problem, 12 Cf. Brey: The epistemology and ontology of human-computer interaction. 2005, P. 388. be it a text, a computer simulation, or as I argue, a digital game. A text can offer a careful analysis of the different components of a protein structure. A computer simulation can show an accurate model of the aforementioned protein, prompting a better visualization of said structures. A digital game will make protein folding take the form of a puzzle, where players can visualize its different components and explore diverse possibilities to create new protein structures in a playful environment.
As can be surmised from its definition, cognitive artifacts include a vast range of tools, from the text to the digital game. For many centuries, books were the most important cognitive artifacts, for they were the ultimate way to represent knowledge that was easily accessed by others. The introduction of electronic media, such as television and radio, and the consequent rise of digital media, prompted an intellectual revolution, as the written text was no longer the foremost way to access knowledge. The creation of the computer was crucial to the development of technologies that became an essential part of our everyday and professional lives. Among these, digital games are particularly important because of the gradual impact they had on culture and society, evolving from mere entertainment to complex cognitive experiences.
However, Brey argues that when a computer system is used for ludic purposes, such as playing a digital game, it is not used as a cognitive artifact, because digital games “are not meant to inform, but rather to please or entertain.” 13 Brey: The epistemology and ontology of human-computer interaction. 2005, P. 393. He does recognize that they involve the use of cognitive abilities, but since their main goals are not cognitive, digital games cannot be conceptualized as cognitive artifacts. However, Brey is overlooking the fact that digital games are cognitive exercises that ineluctably influence the way players think and learn. Digital games allow players to thoroughly analyze a problem or an obstacle and immediately test their strategies to overcome these difficulties in a virtual world that provides instant feedback. Therefore, players have to constantly refine their approaches using the information provided by the virtual environment. They are in a continual state of analysis and reflection during play. Is the purpose of a digital game pure entertainment? If so, does that mean that it ceases to stimulate players’ cognitive abilities? Can it be considered a cognitive artifact, even if their main objective is entertainment? What happens when a digital game is designed with the explicit objective to aid in research? Is it a cognitive artifact then?
There are examples of games used as cognitive artifacts throughout history. Chess and Go are prime examples of games that have been highly praised and used as intellectual exercises. These games were used to teach strategies or reenact battles for study. 14 Cf. Halter: From Sun Tzu to Xbox. 2006, L. 228-231. They were experienced as ludic training and were undoubtedly stimulating players’ cognitive abilities, but at the same time, they were labeled as games. Can cognitive artifacts both inform and exercise cognitive abilities in a pleasant, ludic way? Alan Kay thought so, even when digital games were a nascent medium, and we were yet to see everything that they would later become. Even early studies of the effects of digital play showed that they were effective learning experiences that stimulated players’ intellectual skills, particularly their problem-solving abilities. 15 Cf. Loftus and Loftus: Mind at Play. 1983. Problem-solving is a crucial skill exercised by all digital game players. As James Paul Gee has stated, digital games encourage players to adopt a scientific way of thinking 16 Cf. Gee: Learning Theory, Video Games, and Popular Culture. 2011, P. 38. . Players approach problems in the game world in a similar way as scientists approach problems in research: both players and scientists formulate a hypothesis. In one case, players test their hypothesis by carrying out strategies in the virtual world to overcome obstacles and complete objectives, whereas scientists design experiments to test a given hypothesis. Both evaluate the results and ponder on the successes and failures to confirm or refine their initial hypotheses by analyzing the game experience or the lab experience. 17 Cf. Gee: What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. 2003, P. 90. This is the case whether players play Candy Crush or Europa Universalis IV. Players are, in fact, having an intellectually challenging experience when they play digital games. Consequently, digital games are cognitive artifacts that are shaping the modern intellectual world because they foster a significant development of human cognitive abilities.
One of the most significant advantages of digital games is precisely the fact that they are games. In addition to stimulating players’ cognitive abilities, they are found in a playful state, that is, an attitude that stimulates their creative thinking and the exploration of different solutions to a problem that differ from other stricter contexts, such as a research lab or a classroom. Even though Foldit players do take part in actual research, they know that they are also playing a game, a challenging puzzle, where they can safely explore several ways to solve it. Foldit is a digital game, such as any other game, that is meant to be challenging but enjoyable. This playful state fosters players to test different strategies and take additional risks that would be difficult in other contexts. Failures and setbacks are seen as perfect opportunities for reflection and further improvement of strategies. Moreover, Foldit proposes a new way of creating science by engaging general public, who will excel in their area of expertise as players, that is, their outstanding problem-solving abilities, and when they are coupled with experts in biochemistry, who will analyze the input provided by the players, they are changing traditional scientific practices.
One of the main features of cognitive artifacts is that they transform cognitive tasks, 18 Cf. Norman: Cognitive Artifacts. 1991, P. 1. that is, all the activities that are related to knowledge production and communication. The written word enabled the creation of structured discourse to analyze ideas. The computer allowed the creation of digital worlds that can be explored and used for different purposes, from sending an e-mail to playing an epic adventure. Digital games can change how we generate knowledge by gradually becoming valuable tools in research. Therefore, cognitive artifacts can be studied from two perspectives: the personal view and the system view. 19 Cf. Norman: Things that Make Us Smart. 1993, P. 78. The personal view signals the impact the artifact has in the individual, that is, how the person’s skills and abilities change through the use of the artifact. From a personal view, digital games, as cognitive artifacts, are stimulating players’ cognitive abilities. The system view analyzes how the artifact and the person work together, that is, how they form a system whose power lies in the coordinated efforts of both the person and the artifact. I have already explained how digital games can be cognitive artifacts and have used Foldit as an example of a digital game that provides an innovative representation of a scientific problem. The use of Foldit, a digital game, as a research tool, has allowed scientists to discover new protein structures, something that they had been struggling to achieve. Foldit, as a system, is formed by players, scientists, game designers, and the game itself, and they form a cognitive system capable of achieving what was previously unattainable.
The system, as a whole, is much more efficient and powerful than each of the components on its own. Humans and cognitive artifacts form a system capable of achieving tasks that would otherwise be difficult or nearly impossible to achieve. Foldit is a prime example of cognitive artifacts that are essential in the achievement of a cognitive task. The advances in biochemistry achieved by the Foldit team—Foldit game designers, researchers, Rosetta software, and players—could have never been reached if each one of the elements on the team had acted on its own. That was one of the main reasons behind the creation of Foldit: the fact that scientists were faced with an insurmountable difficulty to visualize and correctly solve a protein puzzle. That is when they thought of recruiting the most creative, hard-working problem solvers who often thought outside the box to overcome intricate problems: digital game players.
Foldit, seen as the integration of the game, the players, and the scientists, offers a new way of how research can be conducted. It introduces an engaging activity that allows the exploration and generation of new protein structures in a playful way. In addition, one of the most important aspects of the game is that the sum of the collaborative efforts of many participants is exceedingly important to reach the established goals. Foldit is a fascinating phenomenon because it not only involves players and their crucial contributions to the solution of a scientific problem that expert scientists had been struggling with. The success of Foldit lies in the collaborative work among game designers, scientists, and players that used Foldit and all the tools associated with it to accomplish new contributions to the field of biochemistry. It is a prime example of collaboration and all the benefits that a collaborative construction of knowledge can have for science.
Collaborative Communities of Play: Thinking Together through Play
Current formulations of knowledge, especially in science, are becoming increasingly collaborative. In general, collaborative groups have deeper interactions that lead to better results in research. 20 Boyer-Kassem, Thomas, and Imbert, Cyrille: Scientific Collaboration: Do Two Heads Need to Be More than Twice Better than One? 2015, P. 680. Collaboration is intellectually beneficial, for dialogue and contributions among peers lead to fruitful discussions and the generation of innovative ideas. The emergence of the internet fostered, unlike any technology before it, the creation of virtual spaces for the exchange of ideas. Pierre Lévy has done extensive research on the characteristics and contributions of cyberculture, a new type of culture that arises from the introduction of the computer to several aspects of modern life. Three major principles have guided the digital revolution: interconnection, the creation of virtual communities, and collective intelligence. 21 Cf. Lévy: Cibercultura. 2007, P. 99. Computational power lead to the development of the internet, which in turn allowed the creation of virtual communities whose members can easily and rapidly communicate with each other. This prompted the emergence of collective intelligence, that is, the optimal use and synergy of intellectual energies and imagination. 22 Cf. Lévy: Cibercultura. 2007, P. 140. Collective intelligence entails the active participation of members of a community to collectively create something, such as the discovery of new protein structures, as in the case of Foldit.
Collective intelligence, or collaboration, is characterized by people engaging in dialogue and deliberation, as they make personal contributions to a common project. They share ideas, explore implications and find solutions for complex problems. The participation of each individual with their own personal efforts is essential to the achievement of the ultimate goal: finding the solution to a problem or overcoming an obstacle. Collaboration is a unique way of working in a community that has a common goal. As Jane McGonigal points out, it consists of three distinct kinds of joint effort:
- Cooperating, which entails purposeful action toward a common goal;
- Coordinating, that is, synchronizing efforts and sharing resources; and
- Cocreating, the production of a novel outcome, result of the work of each one of the members of the community. 23 Cf. McGonigal: Reality is Broken. 2011, P. 268.
The third element is crucial for it is what distinguishes collaboration from other collective efforts, such as merely allowing your computer to run programs that analyze data. Cocreation makes collaboration an essentially generative act: the members of the community are directly participating in creating something that could not have been created if they had acted individually. Cocreation is both one of the main motivations and outcomes of Foldit: the reason Foldit was created was to encourage players to contribute to research, and at the same time, the outcome was the substantial progress of science.
Collaboration is the creation of new knowledge, novel ideas and innovative insights that are the result of shared work. Foldit is a collective effort for science, and it offers players the opportunity to direct their creative thinking skills and be part of an important research project. Furthermore, Foldit encourages the use of diverse intellectual activities. In addition to playing the game, Foldit players can implement a variety of other strategies to achieve the ultimate goal, such as in-game chats, form teams to play the game, as well as discussion forums and Foldit’s own wiki page. All of these modes of collaboration form a tight network of support that aids scientific discovery.
The scientists and game designers that created Foldit have stated that one of their main motivations in using a digital game to represent scientific problems as puzzles was to harness “the enormous collective problem-solving potential of the game playing population.” 24 Cf. Cooper et al: The challenge of designing scientific discovery games. 2000, P. 1. Players have proven to be outstanding collaborators, for their contributions have been widely quoted in publications that examine the protein structures they proposed, and scientists have analyzed and used the algorithms for protein folding designed by players to understand the structures of new proteins.
Therefore, Foldit can be seen as a cognitive system comprised by players, game designers, research scientists, and the game itself, including Rosetta, the software in charge of analyzing protein structures. They form a unique collaborative system in which all of the elements process different kinds of information to achieve a notable outcome, which is only possible thanks to the joint efforts of all of them. This is clearly stated in the Foldit introductory video: “The gamers can use their structural problem-solving skill, and the computer can do the number crunching. By letting the players and computers each do what they’re best at, we hope to solve problems that neither humans nor computers could solve alone.” 25 Foldit at UW: Welcome to Foldit! (Short Version). 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQKLtqf3Nzc> [31.03.2017]. Foldit has proven to be a successful endeavor that combines the computing power of machines and the human power of joint intellectual efforts, complementing the strengths of each one of them to achieve valuable and impressive results that might encourage the incorporation of digital games as cognitive artifacts to aid in research in other contexts.
The use of artifacts permeates most human activities, including those that lead to the construction of knowledge and the practice of science. These epistemological practices are dynamic, as they change when new technologies are incorporated into them. The technological artifacts that aid research are deeply changing how research is conducted, and they are opening new possibilities for the general public to be involved. Research has targeted digital game players for their superb abilities in problem-solving. Consequently, digital games have shown that they can be valuable tools that are encouraging novel epistemological practices. Digital games such as Foldit have shown the enormous potential of crafting specific games that enable players to participate in the creation of new knowledge in an accessible, engaging way.
I have used Foldit as an example to show how digital games, examined as cognitive artifacts, have transformed the diverse ways in which we can generate and communicate knowledge. Players and scientists are working together in a common research project using a digital game, where players propose original and accurate protein structures that are incorporated into research on protein structure prediction and protein design. This, in turn, helps scientists to develop new proteins and means to modify existing protein structures involved in diseases. Therefore, Foldit is a digital game that represents scientific problems in a virtual ludic environment open to anyone who wishes to contribute to this research project by playing the game.
Digital games are cognitive artifacts that stimulate players’ cognitive abilities, and they have a huge impact on the development of cognitive tasks crucial to scientific research. Players can now use their creative thinking skills to help actual research and participate in the social construction of knowledge. Digital games are fundamentally changing how knowledge is created and communicated by transforming human experience and intellectual abilities. Foldit has encouraged the creation of other games, such as Phylo, EteRNA, and Play to Cure: Genes in Space. All of these games aim to encourage players to help scientists in actual scientific research. The gradual incorporation of digital games in the practice of science shows the great potential of digital games to encourage new ways of thinking and be experienced as epistemological practices in science.
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Metadata for the Foldit Screenshot:
Description: Screenshot of the game Foldit, featuring a protein puzzle, the in-game chat window, the cookbook for recipes, and options to modify the protein
<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Foldit_screenshot.png> Date:16 November 2009 (original upload date) [31.03.2017]
Source Selbst angefertigt
Author Animation Research Labs, University of Washington
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.
Fußnoten [ + ]
|1.||↑||Cf. Rheingold: Tools for Thought. 2000, P. 243.|
|2.||↑||Rheingold: Tools for Thought. 2000, P. 233.|
|3.||↑||Cf. Cooper et al: The challenge of designing scientific discovery games. 2000, P. 3.|
|4.||↑||Cf. Cooper et al: The challenge of designing scientific discovery games. 2000, P. 1.|
|5.||↑||Khatib, Firas et al: Algorithm Discovery by Protein Folding Game Players. 2011, P. 18949.|
|6.||↑||Cf. Khatib, Firas et al: Algorithm Discovery by Protein Folding Game Players. 2011, P. 18953.|
|7.||↑||Cf. Norman: Things that Make Us Smart. 1993, P. 146.|
|8.||↑||Norman: Cognitive Artifacts. 1991, P. 1.|
|9.||↑||Brey: Technology as Extension of Human Faculties. 2000, P. 15.|
|10.||↑||Brey: Technology as Extension of Human Faculties. 2000, P. 15.|
|11.||↑||Cf. Brey: The epistemology and ontology of human-computer interaction. 2005, P. 388.|
|12.||↑||Cf. Brey: The epistemology and ontology of human-computer interaction. 2005, P. 388.|
|13.||↑||Brey: The epistemology and ontology of human-computer interaction. 2005, P. 393.|
|14.||↑||Cf. Halter: From Sun Tzu to Xbox. 2006, L. 228-231.|
|15.||↑||Cf. Loftus and Loftus: Mind at Play. 1983.|
|16.||↑||Cf. Gee: Learning Theory, Video Games, and Popular Culture. 2011, P. 38.|
|17.||↑||Cf. Gee: What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. 2003, P. 90.|
|18.||↑||Cf. Norman: Cognitive Artifacts. 1991, P. 1.|
|19.||↑||Cf. Norman: Things that Make Us Smart. 1993, P. 78.|
|20.||↑||Boyer-Kassem, Thomas, and Imbert, Cyrille: Scientific Collaboration: Do Two Heads Need to Be More than Twice Better than One? 2015, P. 680.|
|21.||↑||Cf. Lévy: Cibercultura. 2007, P. 99.|
|22.||↑||Cf. Lévy: Cibercultura. 2007, P. 140.|
|23.||↑||Cf. McGonigal: Reality is Broken. 2011, P. 268.|
|24.||↑||Cf. Cooper et al: The challenge of designing scientific discovery games. 2000, P. 1.|
|25.||↑||Foldit at UW: Welcome to Foldit! (Short Version). 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQKLtqf3Nzc> [31.03.2017].|