Monday, September 06, 2010

Let the World Changing Games Begin

I just watched this TED Talk by Jane McGonigal called “Gaming can make a better world.” McGonigal outlines how Gaming (and Gamers) can save the world. You should watch this TED Talk in it's entirety but I have taken the liberty to aggregate McGonigal's points for you:

Urgent Optimism: Gamers always believe an epic win is possible;

Social Fabric: Gaming builds strong social relationships;

Blissful Productivity: Gamers are willing to work hard all the time if they are given the right work; and

Epic Meaning: Gamer's love to be attached to awe inspiring missions and epic stories.

McGonigal says this adds up to Gamers being super empowered hopeful individuals who believe that they are individually capable of changing the world. To harness this power of thought, we just have to convince them to look past the virtual world to the real life problems of this world.

But I think the challenge would also be to change the opinions of the old school people who would be hard pressed to understand why they should value or empower this type of behaviour. While I believe Gamers (like McGonigal suggests) would happily rise to a global challenge, the virtual world remains the most comfortable place to turn when a person finds little value or satisfaction in mundane workplaces were employers will never value their skills (or recognize their potential). When people are only cogs in a money making machine why would they bother to innovate at work - especially when the rewards from gaming are so much more enjoyable and readily available.

I do think McGonigal is onto something here... but I wonder how will we convince the grown ups that they should let us play?


Alex said...

I'm an avid gamer and this is baloney. Games often eliminate the consequences of the Gamers actions. A persons inner a-hole often comes out in games.

I beleive this is because she bases her entire Gaming experience World of Warcraft. That game is a cartoon and nothing more. Its a contrived an phoney reality. Its no wonder she is so off base.

She is also a progressive. I saw that game she invented coming a mile away. What she is doing is creating a phoney reality to solve a phoney problem. I wish her the best of luck, because reality will flatten the zombies she might create.

Anonymous said...

How can you tell when someone claims to be an “avid gamer” that they don't actually get what gaming is?

Playing games does not a gamer make. She's speaking to a generation (or two) of people who know what she is saying is true in the sense that they would be willing to step up and devote energy to making something right when (or if) the time ever comes.

Allie said...

I think it's more a hopeful look at possible future resources when the reality we have today is one where most people would rather not devote a whole lot of time to the mundane.

I also think it's more about finding the way to communicate with people to encourage them to re-engage in a meaningful way - but they first have to see that it is meaningful.

Creating something that people can care about, be part of and want to work hard or sacrifice for isn't so off base, imho. I've been a gamer long enough that it's possible my entire world view is defined by that. I have also never played WoW but I think she uses that in her presentation because that is where the largest amount of data is available.

And as with anything, when millions of people are choosing to do something it is always worth paying attention to. But that's just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Also the olympics