Alan Emrich and the Gamer Generation

Note: Tonight begins a series of posts which will amount to an annotated bibliography related to peer reviewed articles about the use of video games as constructivist learning environments. However, this first post is not (to my knowledge) a peer reviewed publication.

Alan Emrich, who teaches a Survey of the Game Industry course at Orange County chapter of the Art Institute of California, wrote The Gamer Generation in response to Got Game by Beck and Wade.

Emrich (2005) summarized key differences between the way Baby Boomers and the Gamer Generation grew up, between their resulting psyches, and the way they operate in the business world (or school). He included a variety of data effective for establishing the context of video games as an economic and cultural “force to be reckoned with” (p. 3). In addition there is a discussion of the sexism, violence, stereotypes, and isolation issues related to video games which is neither the usual panic inducing line of reasoning, nor the equally unsophisticated debunking argument. For instance, in his conclusion, Emrich suggests that while video games may not make gamers violent, their relatively simple structure might “not give Gamers enough room to develop complex interpersonal skills” (p. 9). Perhaps the greatest value of the article is the large number of sidebar boxes displaying short quotes or simple bulleted lists with titles such as “Kindergarden: Then and Now”, “Lessons Learned from Playing Video Games”, and “Gamers as Managers”.


Emrich, Alan. (2005). The gamer generation: and why baby boomers shouldn’t worry about them. Inspired by the book Got Game, John C. Beck, Mitchell Wade (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). Available

Thanks to my colleague Mike Guerena for passing this on to me.