How games can make a better world
A few months ago I saw a talk by Jane McGonigal on TED.com. She has been a game designer for about 10 years now and she had some really interesting ideas about how we spend way to little time playing videogames. We are currently spending 3 billion hours a week playing online games. That might sound like an awful lot of playing games and not so much solving problems like hunger, poverty and climate change. But according to her research, we have to increase that playtime to 21 billion hours a week to survive the next century.
Have you ever heard about an “epic win”? That’s when you succeed with something and the outcome is so extremely positive that you didn’t even know that it was possible. What we need is to transfer epic wins into the real world. But that’s not an easy task. In game we become the best version of our self. When we are playing games we get much better confidence and we are much more likely to stand up and try again after failure, as opposed to when we try to tackle real life problems. In game the missions and problems that you have to solve are always match to the level you’re currently at. That means that before you even start, you know it’s possible. You have to work hard to succeed, but you know it’s possible. When we face a problem in real life we often don’t feel the same way. We often feel overvalued by the problem, depressed or frustrated. In game you rarely feel that way. So what is it in games that make us feel like we can achieve everything? What is it that games have that the real world doesn’t?
When you’re first showing up in a cooperative online game, like Guild Wars, World of Worldcraft or Little Big Planet, there are people that are willing to support you with a world saving mission right away. All these collaborators that are willing to help you achieve your epic mission is nothing that exist in real world situations. There’s also a lot more positive feedback in games than it is in...
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