Thoughts on “Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world – TEDtalk”

I have often wondered about the correlation between those who submerge themselves in games and how well they perform in real life. Some think that those who perform poorly at real life learn to adapt to digital life for a number of reasons. One of those is that it is safe, another is that the perceived escapism offers the ability for the gamer to suffer no real world repercussions for their countless efforts trying to achieve something ephemeral in the virtual world. With the developments in online gaming, collaborative gaming, and increased developments in mobile technology, I agree there is room for growth in the world of gaming to begin incorporating real life issues set against real world scenarios that gamers can virtually solve on their own or as part of a group.  At the very least, the games provide an opportunity for people to practice things they may not be able to practice/do in real life.

Imagine something like the social networking site, FourSquare, which allows you to check in at different locations to receive points, badges, titles, and even deals at certain locations. What happens when situational games begin to integrate social features which give recognition, reward, and social structures for actively trying to provide solutions to local, regaional, or global issues. Such a setting would provide the safe environment the gamers are accustomed to while also providing the new style of social reward systems our generation has grown accustomed to. There will be a day when your friends log into their cell phones, explore the problems/concerns/needs supported by their community and take a shot at moving the ball forward through a series of participatory games. As more and more people begin to provide their 2 cents and participate in the socially rewarding games, solutions could begin to arise from within the community as long as the games are engaging, safe, and rewarding. I think the essence of this TEDtalk and my notes here is that the real trick is to keep gamers in their state of Flow to ensure they are enjoying their experience while continuing to be challenged just enough to develop themselves further. All that is changing is the context in which the games are being simulated…The framework is the same between these types of games and others like World of War Craft, Madden, or Grand Theft Auto (to name a few). The game itself is visually appealing and stimulating, but the reward system which is inherently built into the gaming is one aspect of what makes it enjoyable for the players involved…So, go forth and game! “21 billion hours of game play per week” 🙂

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~ by Adam Maikkula on March 21, 2010.

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