Can gamers save the world?
I was just watching this intriguing Ted talks with designer Dr. Jane McGonigal and I have mixed feelings. For one, HELL YES WE CAN is running through my mind. I am a gamer, a geek, and an activist. And look at Anonymous, I am going to bet some of those hacktivists are gamers but even if they aren’t they are still geeks.
On the other hand, I watched another TED talks prior to McGonigal’s and it disturbed me. I know people whose kids are completely disattached from them and are going through some serious issues. They don’t want to be disturbed, they are unimpressed by whatever tech gifts their parents got them (read, ungrateful) and just 24/7 feel let down by society and just want as little to do with it as possible. They’ve pushed their loved ones away, and it’s gone beyond just being a phase.
No, I don’t blame gaming. I blame society, for being as screwed up as it is. But can gaming be harmful or put another way, can it have an adverse affect on people? Of course it can, so can most things. Take TV for example ( which, if I can give my 2 cents, is A LOT worse than gaming on a person’s health). Some people can just watch their favorite shows for an hour or two, then turn the thing off. Others cannot get enough of the new bullshit flavor of reality TV crap du jour. Some gamers can play a game and once they have beat it, take a break, or maybe they only play for a little bit at a time. Others are balls to the walls.
So the real answer to can gamers save the world is it depends on the gamer. The beautiful realms we traverse in games are certainly inspirational. The epic wins we have can influence our daily lives, absolutely! And yeah, as McGonigal says, in real life does someone award us experience points? They fucking should, but no.
So it’s a two sided argument as to whether gaming is harmful or helpful. Because it can be both. The real question to ask is how can we help those who are finding it harmful. Are they being negligent of their families? Are they having eye strain, I mean, what is happening and how can it be changed? People like me, who find gaming helpful and motivational even, we are doing fine. We are learning from the gaming world and maybe even implementing it here.
But the possibility is there, for gamers to really have something that has been overlooked. A skill we have been honing under the radar. It just depends on us.