From Candy Crush to Culture Crush? The Application of Games in Museum Education in Taiwan

Shin-Chieh Tzeng, Taiwan

Candy Crush became a social phenomenon in the spring of 2013. It seems that computer games have transformed into an even more popular and powerful tool in our daily life with the wider penetration of smart phones. When Farmville was introduced to Taiwan, it was actually the driver of the popularity of Facebook in the country. Then came Angry Birds when smart phones gradually occupied people's everyday life. These games are making new technology more acceptable among the general public; however, what is the impact of these games on museums and their educational function?

Recent research shows that education has moved from education to edutainment, and then to serious games. It means that people not only learn things from strict teaching, but also from fun environments, or even with a joyful context and serious motivations. This paper investigates the application of computer/mobile games in different types of museums in Taiwan, and the effects on their visitors. It will use content analysis and in-depth interviews as the methods to collect data for further research. First, a general survey of museums in Taiwan will be conducted to understand the use of games as websites as well as applications. The purpose is to probe the usage and trends of electronic games in Taiwanese museums. Next, this research will include several in-depth interviews to find out the users' idea and opinions about these games. Do these games increase interest in learning and more of the services and content offered by museums? Will users spend more time in playing these games and therefore learn more from the game-playing? Or do these games become the 'dumbing down' of museums so as to crush culture?
The authors conclude with some recommendations on planning educational programmes for museums professionals for their practical adoption in the future.

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