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Readers become readers because they love stories. We often continue reading a book late into the night to find out what happens next. Educators recognize that great stories motivate children to read. Just look at the Harry Potter phenomenon--many young people who were never considered readers became hooked on the series of books, and in the process overturned conventional publishing wisdom concerning the acceptable length of a children's book.
With the explosion of new media, stories can be found in more formats than ever before, including in computer games. But can a great story really be told through a video game? Can a story presented on a screen improve print literacy the way a book does? There's an increasing body of evidence that games can tell wonderful stories and help build literacy skills.
Storytelling can extend beyond the covers of a book. Many video games have plots as complex and gripping as movies and novels. Games like Half Life, a science-fiction first-person shooter game, and Deus Ex, which takes place in a futuristic world (both rated M for mature), turn players into protagonists in overarching plots that unfold when the player meets …