Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Gaming can make a better world

I watched Jane McGonagal (via video) give a talk at TED about how gaming can make a better world. After establishing that we spend an extraordinary amount of time playing games, she posits some attributes this encourages, which pretty much add up to "social optimism" to me. She then went on to describe some AR games she designed to try and harness some of these attributes to change the world, which sounds cool, but none of the games she described struck me as fun, nor did they necessarily create the same optimism as other games, but more harness it as a fuel source.

That is, playing World of Warcraft, a game she references often in the talk, we build up optimism and a feeling of empowerment. Playing World Without Oil, her own game, we use that optimism and empowerment to do incredibly not-fun things like buy different groceries and not drive places. These AR games, to me, are either interesting fiction or crippling delusion, and nothing in Jane's talk made me believe that those things can change the world for good.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - None of this is to say that games can't make a better world.
PPS - I just don't think this is necessarily the way.

No comments: