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Can gamers save the world?

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.

It’s subjective.

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.

About Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley

Writer, Blog Coach, and Digital Strategist based in Thailand. Wellness fan. Gamer.

2 responses »

  1. I haven’t seen the TED video that you’re mentioning, but I play Battlefield 3 alot (online) and also happen to be a business owner. When you’re playing this game with 64 other people, you get to see a glimpse of what people are willing to do in order to get ahead, not just in the game, but in real life. Some set boobie traps and hide behind a bush just waiting, some will try to snipe you from far away without you having a clue someone is watching you, some people like to ambush or surprise-attack you when you least expect it. It’s the same in the real world, only toned down a bit. My point is that games (when played online) can also teach you about life in general. And also, games are a much better alternative to cable television because it doesn’t stimulate your mind like it does when watching, say “America’s Got Talent.”

    Please post a link to the TED video and email me back if you don’t mind. There are thousands of videos on there. lol

    • Yeah people can become totally vicious about getting ahead and winning. I like to call it ego wars because for some reason people become assholes, esp when playing FPS ( in my opinion). I actually don’t play live because I really have no interest in competing or having an ego trip, UNLESS I was playing with a friend. The link to the TED talks is highlighted in the post; I will email it to you though. I personally think she is right that there IS potential for gamers to collaborate and motivate each other, but like you just said, it can be the total opposite.


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