Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gaming can make a better world

Finally catching up with gamesmooc this week ;-)

I haven't quite gotten to playing games just yet (runescape is not cooperating with me), but I did read over the text-based materials (thanks to Pocket!) and views the TED talks.  This particular one was pretty interesting.  The example she gives of Herodotus of the Lydians playing games one day and eating another, thus surviving an 18 year famine by eating on alternative days is quite a nice example of flow. It also ties in nicely with a story I read today of "Death by Diablo" where a teen died, presumably after playing Diablo for 40 hours without break for food or sleep.  Maybe he had an underlying condition that precipitated his death - but it seems like even in a state of flow you can't ignore basic needs (water, food, sleep, bathroom breaks) for very long.

Another interesting thing, a tie-in to learning theory, is a comment she makes about World of Warcraft and quests, where even the lower level players are put into quests right away; quests that are in their skill level but a but of a stretch, so that they can help the games learn and level up.  This reminds me a lot of Lev Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development


Using games to solve real world problems isn't such a stretch.  There are a few games mentioned (I might be trying Evoke at some point in the future), and they remind me a bit of the plot from a show called Stargate Universe, where an MIT dropout spends all his time on an MMORPG, based on real life (but a secret government program).  This dropout solves a puzzle that allows people to travel through a stargate to planets several hundred galaxies away through the game.  Real world problem that teams of people could not solve, solved by one (gifted) gamer thinking out of the box.  Not bad.


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