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How Gaming Can Save the World

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the low-emissions-and-low-carb dept.

Games 85

An anonymous reader writes "Game designer and all-around interesting person Jane McGonigal just published a book arguing that playing games will help solve the urgent problems of the real world. To mark the publication, Discover Magazine has a Q&A with McGonigal on several topics, such as: exactly how much gaming is too much? 'There was a really significant study that tracked 1,100 soldiers for a year, and looked at how they were spending their free time with things they considered coping mechanisms—using Facebook, listening to music, reading, working out, or playing video games. They correlated this with incidences of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide attempts, and domestic violence. The found that by a very wide margin, the most psychologically protected individuals—who had the lowest rates of any of these negative experiences—were people who were playing video games 3 to 4 hours a day. ... That was fascinating—it was more beneficial than anything but working out 7 hours a day.' She also talks about how relationships forged in games can change the world, and which world problems exactly is she trying to solve via games. (Hint: think big.)"

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85 comments

i would really like to (0)

aussieslovethecock (1840034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017322)

engage in oral sex with your mom

Time to.. (2)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017338)

workout for 7 hours and game for 3-4 hours after that!

Re:Time to.. (-1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017406)

Interestingly, PTSD is highly correlated with "having actual experiences in the real world". Gaming more than 3 hours a day is, by and large, negatively correlated with "having experiences in the real world", and as such, must be negatively correlated with PTSD.

Get out of your room, out of your house, and live a little, and there's a higher chance you'll experience some kind of trauma. That doesn't mean it's not worth doing!

Re:Time to.. (4, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017416)

Interestingly, PTSD is highly correlated with "having actual experiences in the real world". Gaming more than 3 hours a day is, by and large, negatively correlated with "having experiences in the real world", and as such, must be negatively correlated with PTSD.

You obviously missed the part where TFS stated "tracked 1,100 soldiers for a year". These test subjects were outside and although not explicitly stated were presumably in a combat zone when these tests occured.

Re:Time to.. (0)

.tekrox (858002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017472)

Oh if I had mod points, rationality on slashdot is few and far.

Re:Time to.. (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019418)

But the question is how meaningful these results are when discussing people who are not soldiers. Soldiers (especially deployed in combat or active peacekeeping situations) face some rather unique emotional challenges. What's good for them isn't necessarily going to be good for people in general. I'm just hypothesizing here, but someone whose day job involves seeing people killed violently and having to do the same to other people might benefit from spending his down time experiencing similar visuals and activities in a virtual environment in which he knows he is safe from harm, thereby making it less traumatic. But for someone whose day job is running a deep fryer or driving a truck or fixing computers or trading stocks, that might not have any therapeutic value and could possibly have a negative effect. I'm not saying that it does, just that a study of soldiers doesn't say that it doesn't.

Re:Time to.. (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019232)

Yes because soldiers just don't go out on their patrol when they want to play video games, why more people don't use that blatant loop hole nobody knows. And those that do don't notice the IED killing their friends because they are too focused on their DS instead of looking for suspicious activity.

Re:Time to.. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020420)

And those that do don't notice the IED killing their friends because they are too focused on their DS instead of looking for suspicious activity.

While I'm sure you're joking ... if you're playing your DS on patrol, I'm sure you are going to be a victim of fratricide before long (or PvP in gamers parlance).

Sounds like... (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017340)

Someone's been reading Ender's Game. Or watching SG Universe.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

macson_g (1551397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017506)

Or seeing 'the Last Starfighter'

Re:Sounds like... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017610)

Wait, you're saying that The Last Starfighter wasn't real, that all these years I've practiced Asteroids isn't going to help save us from the Big One?

Cutting to the chase... (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017344)

The two main ways in which gaming will "save the world": solving obesity and world peace.

Well, now that you mention it... (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019146)

Well, now that you mention it, ways of solving conflict other than having thousands of people splattering each other's guts all over the landscape, have existed for most of human history. E.g., deciding who's right by single combat is attested from primitive tribes to the late middle ages. And sometimes even there some kind of contest of ability could be substituted for actual combat.

E.g., probably the funniest such case was when, if I remember that legend right, a minor dispute between Moldavia and Wallachia was settled by having one champion of each meet on a bridge on a border and try to best each other in a... wine drinking contest. So after a no doubt epic and thrilling match, eventually one of them slumped under the table and the other's country claimed victory. IIRC the winner got knighted or some such for his victory.

I can't see why we can't do the same with video games :p

Re:Well, now that you mention it... (3, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019224)

Or to give another example of a conflict solved by, shall we say, less than martial means, take an insvasion of Russia by the Mongols, where the armies met on the opposite edges of a river, and with obviously neither having enough superiority to charge across the river. So after shouting various slurs and insults to the other for a couple of days, the Mongols, obviously having lost to the superior cussword vocabulary of the brave defenders from Muskowy, turned tail and went home.

Well, I guess the fact that the Russians had moved some kind of moving fort to threaten their flank may have also played a role, but that's not as funny ;)

Re:Well, now that you mention it... (1)

Kartu (1490911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020136)

Making up history you are...

Re:Well, now that you mention it... (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020266)

Nope. Check out the great stand on the Ugra river [wikipedia.org] . They really sat on the opposite banks while Ivan was negotiating for more support with his unruly boyars, while the Mongolians were hoping for some reinforcements that never arrived.

Re:Cutting to the chase... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35024000)

The two main ways in which gaming will "save the world": solving obesity and world peace.

And perhaps over-population.

Matches up to some previous research (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017382)

There was a study a decade or so ago where, if you can believe it, patients with severe burns were asked to rate how much they "enjoyed" having their dressings changed on a scale of one to ten. Changing the dressings on a burns victim is generally regarded as one of the most traumatic procedures a patient can undergo outside of surgery, and answers generally ranged from "crying" to "What kind of inhuman monster would even ask me that?" to "minus fifty".

The patients were then asked to play a videogame (I think it was Tetris) while their dressings were changed, for a few days/weeks/whatever.

When asked again how much they enjoyed having their burns changed, the same set of patients would reply with answers averaging around 6 and 7.

No citations, no nothing, but I think I remember reading about it back around the Xth anniversary of Tetris, when everyone kept going on about what a cognitive miracle Tetris is...

Have they .. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017396)

figured out whether shrooms have the magical properties of getting bigger ? (No I'm not talking about shitake-enhanced penis enlargers)

Re:Have they .. (1, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017412)

figured out whether shrooms have the magical properties of getting bigger ?

Certain 'magical' shrooms will appear bigger, more colourful and possibly even talk to you after consumption.

Re:Have they .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35021714)

This message was posted by a mushroom.

Correlation / Causation (3, Insightful)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017398)

Here we go again! Did game playing really prevent PTSD or are people who play games less susceptible to PTSD?

Re:Correlation / Causation (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017470)

I love video games, but the most popular games in the world are not facilitators of the kind of positive benefits being suggested. Trust me, if you play Call of Duty: Black Ops for three to four hours a day, the quantity of hateful racial and homophobic slurs (not to mention the inane sounds and chatter from people's fucking children who are playing an M game with adults and idiots who won't turn their fucking mic off while they carry on conversations with people on their end) is enough to GIVE you PTSD. In fact, as much as I was enjoying COD: Black Ops and playing it every free moment I had for weeks . . . I eventually woke up Christmas morning and said to myself "I can't play it any more. I can't bring myself to login and play it today. My ears can't take one more minute of it." And I haven't touched it, since.

If games have any potential for saving the world, it's most likely going to be by occupying the worst human beings in the world. Keep all of the mouth-breathing morons busy shooting each other and hurling slurs at each other (for almost 30,000 combined man-years in the first six or eight weeks of COD:BO, alone) and those people aren't out there doing drug deals, date-raping, or tagging up private property with cans of spray paint or setting neighborhood pets on fire.

Re:Correlation / Causation (1)

TardisX (15222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017760)

I eventually woke up Christmas morning and said to myself "I can't play it any more. I can't bring myself to login and play it today. My ears can't take one more minute of it." And I haven't touched it, since.

Couldn't you just mute the in-game chat??

Re:Correlation / Causation (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018506)

No, of course he couldn't. Technical solutions to social problems never work.

Besides, he'd be conditioned into associating the screen images of CoD with the inane messaging on the chat, so his subconscious would expose him to the thing he was trying to suppress

Re:Correlation / Causation (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017474)

Or, um, are people with PTSD less likely to play games? That seems to be the most likely scenario to me.

Re:Correlation / Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017660)

I don't know, but I can provide an anecdote.

I have PTSD (not combat-related) and game probably 15 hours a week. Gaming gives me a break from the triggers found in the real world, and allows me to escape to a fantasy world where I do not experience the fear and anxiety associate with PTSD.

Is it healthy? I don't know. It is a coping mechanism though.

Re:Correlation / Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017688)

Pretty much the same here, but I am bipolar and borderline as well as PTSD (non-combat).

Re:Correlation / Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35024164)

I didn't mention my bipolar disorder because I didn't think it relevant to the current discussion. But now that you mention it, I'm bipolar 1, BPD, PTSD (non-combat) as well. For what it's worth, it's my belief that PTSD and the inability to cope with stressors was the gateway to BP and BPD.

Re:Correlation / Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017648)

Yes, my immediate assessment was that game play desensitized them.

Re:Correlation / Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018172)

Ahh... its because they do not have time for PTSD. All that denial stuff is crap!

Now can anyone help me out with Demon Souls?

Re:Correlation / Causation (5, Interesting)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019596)

I've had PTSD (combat-related). Glad to say that I haven't had a real problem with it in about 5 years, but even to this day I hear the right kind of *BANG* and have momentary flashbacks of the sh!t I've been through. A door slamming with a loud thud can sound like a mortar exploding in the distance. Seeing a flaming car on the side of the road might remind me of a time when that was a blown-up Humvee.

You know why it didn't develop into a debilitating problem for me? Diversions, and talking with other soldiers/marines/airmen/sailors who've been in similar situations, if not the same time & place where I nearly got blown up on more than one occasion. No one who hasn't been in a combat zone can comprehend the reality of things; "99% boredom, 1% chaos" is the tip of the iceberg.

Gaming helped me to put those times in the back of my mind, rather than constantly having to deal with them in the foreground.
Are gamers more or less susceptible to PTSD? I don't believe so. I think it's just a coping mechanism which can prove to be quite useful in treatment. It's much better than trying to forget through drinking; the worst you'll get is atrophy, vs. a possibly life-threatening addiction and delirium tremens.

TLDR: Gaming is a good outlet, regardless of what kind of gaming it is. CoD, solitaire, or WoW can all be potentially therapeutic to individuals who may have otherwise developed PTSD.

Re:Correlation / Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35020486)

As a former US Soldier I am almost certain - from what I witnessed in peers - that you're correct to question this. People who tend to be gamers - especially of violent games - are ones who don't have PTSD - in large margin because they never actually saw anything happen. Those who saw/did disturbing things don't enjoy being reminded of it so they don't play such games.

Gaming can save the world (3, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017400)

Gaming can save the world's food crisis by sending people on quests to collect 20 Talbuk ears, the carcass left over afterwards provides a sustainable supply of meat if the respawn rate is high enough.

Re:Gaming can save the world (1)

love2putmypenisthere (1804486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017468)

lolwut? wanker.

Re:Gaming can save the world (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017502)

In a decade or two once peak oil has hit and the economies have crashed, we'll all be thanking Farmville for teching people how to grow crops.

Re:Gaming can save the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35019210)

Except they'll think that the crops can be harvested in a few hours/days. Good luck planning for winter then...

Re:Gaming can save the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017554)

Provided you skin the molten damn dalbuk!

Might be the other way round... (1, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017436)

Soldiers that are able to play games for 3-4 hours might tend to be those that:
a) spend less time in combat or "PTSD inducing" situations.
b) are inherently less affected by such stuff _therefore_ they are able to play games rather than spend the rest of the day traumatized or too exhausted to recover properly.

Too lazy to RTFA :).

Re:Might be the other way round... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017832)

The explanation comes from a previous /. article here
http://games.slashdot.org/story/10/11/12/210213/Tetris-May-Reduce-PTSD-But-Pub-Quiz-Makes-It-Worse

While I don't argue entirely against your A/B points, The study from the link above suggests differently.

AC

I'm not sure you understand the army (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020098)

I'm not sure you understand the army. Actually judging by half the answers in the thread, lots of people seem to think it's like in their games.

Some 3-4 hours a day are a lot when you spend 8 hour at your day job, 2 hours commuting so you can live in the right fashionable suburb, and have to balance everything from dealing with the kids to getting the roof fixed in the rest of the time. That's when 3-4 hours a day to spend on gaming starts to be more time than you actually have.

When you're on some military base at the end of nowhere, and you live right there too, all those factors just don't apply. It's not like those guys spend 16 hours a day shooting at the enemy or standing in guard towers, because even all out war doesn't actually work that way. And also because nobody can resist such a program in the long term. Working 16 hour days is fine for a couple of weeks tops, then you start getting tired and making mistakes.

Even when you pulled guard duty, actually it doesn't mean camping at that post all day, but pretty much time slicing if I'm allowed a computer metaphor. You spend your time slice at your post, then have the next two time slices free. Even between sleeping, eating, polishing your boots and whatnot, there's one hell of a lot of time free.

And you're not supposed to check the kids' homework and get the dishwasher fixed and whatnot in that time either.

Playing 3-4 hours a day isn't going to cut down on your time actually doing your duties.

Also not the least because, well, your commanding officer isn't like the kind of permissive mommy who's totally not bothered if you skipped tidying your room to play games and expects the politicians to police her kids. Those guys _are_ those policing you there and seeing to it that you obey your orders to the letter.

Re:Might be the other way round... (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35022598)

Soldiers that are able to play games for 3-4 hours might tend to be those that spend less time in combat or "PTSD inducing" situations.

Nah, there's plenty of downtime in combat. War is nothing but long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

Agreed though, there's no demonstration of a causative relationship here. The only way to find out for sure is to send the troops more PSPs!

Re:Might be the other way round... (1)

Kashgarinn (1036758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35029668)

I find myself wanting to reply to discourage you from replying in this form ever again. A list like yours is as stupid as a reply with list of a person's favorite "my little pony" characters.

If you could cite a source or give some firm background as to why your opinion is relevant, then that's another matter, but you're just spewing crap you thought up in your sad little brain and wasting peoples' time. You're like the pundits on Fox News in this regard.

FACT: The fact that you can find "other reasons" just by thinking out loud in no shape or form has any validity as a response.

I hope you never ever waste another persons time ever again, but even if you do, my opinion of you will still be "lower than filth".

Re:Might be the other way round... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#35031416)

If you could cite a source or give some firm background as to why your opinion is relevant, then that's another matter, but you're just spewing crap you thought up in your sad little brain and wasting peoples' time.[1]

[1] Kashgarinn, Slashdot, Jan 28 2011.

9.5/10 game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017456)

please toss out COD and get battlefield bad company 2. for the troops.

I thought you meant gambling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017486)

All of the local casinos.
  Stopped calling it gambling and now advertise gaming LOL.

What happens when you take the games away? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017564)

Saving the world by disengaging for 3-4 hours a day? Are you fucking serious? Sitting on your ass not doing anything for 3-4 hours a day means you're less likely to get in trouble? Sitting on your ass for 3-4 hours a day means you're less likely to do anything, positive or negative!

Game Creator not PhD! (1)

jancohen (1978304) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017636)

There's a good reason why Jane creates games and doesn't practice in any human behavior specialties! You go back to playing and making games Jane and let the pros talk about human behavior! (You don't swim in my pool, I won't swim in yours!)

Re:Game Creator not PhD! (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019658)

Jane MgGonigal makes games? According to Wikipedia she has a PhD in Performance studies and has made some cute fake websites meant to promote Halo 2. Seems she has taken an interest in computer games after her Halo advertising, has taught game design and believes she knows best the direction of the industry. Looks harmless enough, no more of a crank than most academics in the humanities. I would start worrying if she was given some form of creative control over something I am working on, she seems to have a lot of grand vision but no idea about the care, effort and endless iteration required to making a fun and playable game.

Re:Game Creator not PhD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35029008)

This isn't harmless...

First they come for your jew jokes.

I think the point is... (1)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017686)

I have watched the TED talk, I think the point here is using game dynamics and apply them to work to make it more enjoyable and satisfying.

I had played WoW, I spent hours of my life in there doing things that are for most part can be considered a waste of time.
A good amount of it was mindless "work" which gave inconsequential rewards.

I began to wonder why I can't study with the same attitude.

If we designed education courses like we designed games, with proper difficultly curves, proper effort/reward tuning (remember WoW's rewards are effectively worthless and cost Blizzard next to nothing to implement /w things like achievements being even cheaper to create), studying will be so much fun, students so much more motivated.

The same can be said for tuning work processes in a job.

Re:I think the point is... (1)

hat_eater (1376623) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017874)

Here's an excerpt [gamasutra.com] from McGonigall's book that covers exactly how games are like hard work that we love.

Re:I think the point is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35041958)

What you are talking about, is the Kahn Academy (check the exercise modules).

WoW 'virtuosos' = good? Yeah right.. (1)

fleeped (1945926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35017856)

I've known a few people that have wasted part of their lives in WoW ( 2-6 years ) and I haven't seen 'improvements'. All I've seen is zombie-like behaviour, talking only about the game, grinding to death, spending endless hours waiting for the team to gather in instances, etc etc. And all this so you they say in the end "My armor/level/weapon/pet is bigger/better/cooler than yours - I'm awesome".

And regarding the virtuoso thing. Virtuosos in ART are a good thing. Why? Because the world benefits. Virtuosos in SCIENCE are a good thing. Why? Because the world benefits. Virtuosos in GAMES are a good thing??? WHY? Is there any benefit from that? A guy spends 10,000 hours in a game, becomes an expert on it and .. what? How does anyone benefit besides his ego ( and his pocket at times in tournaments, and game AI research if we want to push it more).

I don't really care, but suggesting that becoming virtuoso in a game is a good thing, and having seen friends and relatives walking that path, I would say to Ms McGonigal that, if she has kids, she should give example to the world by introducing them to WoW and other online FPS asap, so we know that she means it, and the whole thing is not a marketing ploy for some weird, supposedly beneficial and ineffective bullshit that is Soon Coming To A Store Near You :-)

Oh, and for a POV clarification, I've been a hardcore gamer for the past 20 years. MMOs for a while included.

Re:WoW 'virtuosos' = good? Yeah right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018166)

I've known a few people that have wasted part of their lives in WoW ( 2-6 years ) and I haven't seen 'improvements'. All I've seen is zombie-like behaviour, talking only about the game, grinding to death, spending endless hours waiting for the team to gather in instances, etc etc. And all this so you they say in the end "My armor/level/weapon/pet is bigger/better/cooler than yours - I'm awesome".

And regarding the virtuoso thing. Virtuosos in ART are a good thing. Why? Because the world benefits. Virtuosos in SCIENCE are a good thing. Why? Because the world benefits. Virtuosos in GAMES are a good thing??? WHY? Is there any benefit from that? A guy spends 10,000 hours in a game, becomes an expert on it and .. what? How does anyone benefit besides his ego ( and his pocket at times in tournaments, and game AI research if we want to push it more).

I don't really care, but suggesting that becoming virtuoso in a game is a good thing, and having seen friends and relatives walking that path, I would say to Ms McGonigal that, if she has kids, she should give example to the world by introducing them to WoW and other online FPS asap, so we know that she means it, and the whole thing is not a marketing ploy for some weird, supposedly beneficial and ineffective bullshit that is Soon Coming To A Store Near You :-)

Oh, and for a POV clarification, I've been a hardcore gamer for the past 20 years. MMOs for a while included.

Time spent doing something you enjoy is never wasted. It's called entertainment.

About the virtuosos, why should a virtuoso benefit the world? I don't see how a virtuoso athlete can benefit the world, yet I don't see so much hate directed at them either.

Re:WoW 'virtuosos' = good? Yeah right.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35022688)

What I've gotten out of Jane's TED talk and snippets of other things she's written are two primary points (along with a whole lot of cute statistics, of course):

  1 - It would be good to improve school, work and bureaucratic processes so people feel less like cogs in a machine swept along by an arbitrary set of rules they know little about (or have control over) and more like valued members of a community who can choose to meaningfully interact with it in different ways and are generally treated in a manner that optimally facilitates their enjoyment of the goal-achievement process.

  2 - It would be good to develop 'games' wherein the participants somehow contribute to solving real-world problems.

Point 1, if you think about it, pretty much describes something that's been one of the driving forces behind the evolution of society & government for probably thousands of years. Point 2 has some cool ramifications, and I see some limited application of it, but it's only going to be useful for certain kinds of problems.

Now, if we continue to develop a society that actually awards something of real value to people for doing things that are valuable to society (but that people don't traditionally get rewarded for), that would be damn awesome.

Essentially, I think she makes it all sound a bit more exciting than it really is, when it just boils down to "Let's make society's drudgery more fun and let's use our fun tools to help fix society's drudgery." She's good at it, though, so I say more power to her. There are some useful insights here.

And it will be an EPIC WIN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35017908)

Apparently [youtube.com] .

3 - 4 hours of gaming each day (1)

cthlptlk (210435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018416)

With this approach you are traumatized later, when you receive your Diabetes II diagnosis.

Accompanying TED talk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018552)

Accompanying TED talk:
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

I wanted to like her, but I think she might actually be crazy.

She also has a TED talk on a similar tangent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35018564)

http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

This explains it (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35018706)

I'm sure that if it wasn't for my gaming quite a few hours a day I would already have built a doomsday weapon to annihilate the human race, because you fuckers all deserve to die... oh wait Shogun 2 is coming out?

Gaming won't solve anything (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35019236)

nor will any other touchy, feely crap. What will solve our problems is less people. Wars are fought so group A can take group B's stuff. People go to war to make money. Nobody goes to war if they have better options. Period. No other reason.

Re:Gaming won't solve anything (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020882)

Ah, I love a healthy dose of, "fuck your hippy bullshit" cynicism in the morning. Thanks! :)

Re:Gaming won't solve anything (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35021704)

I've said basically the same thing myself, "All wars are ultimately about economics". As did Pink Floyd: "With... without... and who'll deny, that's what the fighting's really all about?" Furthermore, I predict the new wars of this century will be fought over water, e.g. between the downstream people on a major river and the upstream people.

Coping mechanisms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35019912)

I don't understand why they call all of those things coping mechanisms if that's just what people do in their free time anyways. Reading, listening to music, working out, Facebook?

7 hour workout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35019982)

Anyone who's capable of working out 7 hours a day is probably to dumb to understand he should be traumatised by what he's seen or done.

No more war will save the world (1)

Puzzles (874941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020056)

Make your average person a soldier and put them in a combat situation and see how quickly the PTSD's go up. The video/speech/idea is 99% BS. Think of the video games they were playing: most likely first person shooters--games that desensitize people to killing and death... that's why they were less likely to go sour after seeing rotting corpses at their feet during the day and images of their allies' lives jumping out of their chests in their nightmares. I used to be addicted to Counter-Strike. I used to ponder that the military could strike deals with game devs to help them find their best soldiers through game statistics (see Last Starfighter). Perhaps if your XBox Live gamer score could give you an extra rank when joining the military. I think it's a great idea--IF you want to beef up your military but I don't think that is going to save the world.

I didn't have too much money growing up, but I owned a C64 and an NES. I only owned about five NES games. I completed nearly every game I had and the one that I didn't (Battletoads), I was able to get farther than anybody else I've ever met and talked to about that ridiculously difficult game. My friends that had 30 some odd games never beat any of their games. I attribute my value in the small amount of games I had to the amount of return I got out of them. Instead my friends would always get the next best game and forget about the previous five games. This mentality still exists today, as a very small percentage of people complete the super budget video games made now. I didn't have money for Nintendo Power either, the then ultimate source for game cheats and hints. I played without cheats or help. That information is so prevalent today and game design has evolved to the point where sales and shelf life (making a game easier--see Pacman DX) is more important than the challenge. I suspect most perceived "epic wins" these days are false indicators--just as sitting on a couch and watching a football team win a game and then telling your friends that "we won". I have never gotten into a car accident or gotten a ticket. I attribute this to alot of things, but I ultimately think I am a better driver and that can easily translate to video game playing (training). But does this help save the world?

The games Jane proposes are not ones that would be fun and useful to find solutions as the premise would have to also include fantasy elements like aliens or ghosts, etc. People use games like that as an escape from reality. Spending more time playing video games is not what we need. Spending more quality time playing video games is what we need. Don't just increase the game dev's income by spending more time playing subscription based carrot chasers. To improve a person's out of game life while playing games would require an almost direct reward system. I realized real quickly that the time it took to teach my avatar a skill in an MMO, that if I spent perhaps 150% of the time actually trying to learn the skill myself out of game, I would probably have a real world achievement. When you can put you have a 20th level WOW Wizard on your resume and it would help you get a job and not get laughed at, come talk to me.

Consider this: once your character has achieved a significant level of say, Athletics, give the player a real world gift certificate to the gym. And better yet, set up a system where if the player uses the gift certificate and clocks so many hours on exercise machines, give their avatar a bonus in athletics as well. Set up systems where good grades in school in respective courses could define their avatar in game. Suddenly doing your homework never seemed so rewarding. This is the kind of idealistic thinking Jane needs to be talking about, not about how to get people to spend more and give her more of their money. Solve diabetes or literacy first... then we'll save the world.

Illusions don't save anybody (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35020282)

It's an interesting attempt, but there are innumerable holes in this logic. Reality can be tough. Folks have tried asceticism to deal with it, as well as indulgence. I think, more than escaping reality, that simply helping someone in need solves a lot more problems than any camaraderie accomplished from games. In moderation gaming can build friendship. But overdo it, and the game becomes the only conduit for your relationships. I would suggest to game addicts to visit a nursing home or bring some food to a family in need. You can make reality much more gratifying without simply escaping it.

Re:Illusions don't save anybody (1)

jbillybytes (1984682) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020972)

Common sense, right? Gaming is great until it turns into addiction. As long as you're a player in reality too I guess...

Recommended Sci-Fi Reading.... (1)

artgeeq (969931) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020340)

Forever Peace, by Joe Haldeman, is, in part, about connecting people with an interface that could be like the gaming interface of the future. Forget about joy stick controllers, Wii tennis, and other mechanical apparatus. Why not just connect people directly through their nervous systems? If we all shared our thoughts this way, what would be the implications?

I don't know about gam-ING, but GAMES, yes. (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020772)

I remember watching North Korea take the field in this most recent World Cup. The crowd was cheering. North Korea, a great annoyance to the world, was being cheered on. The players were crying.

Why?

Because they have rarely, if ever, been out of their country. They could not have expected such love and acceptance from the world they have been taught to hate. And got this experience by playing a game.

I was so disappointed that they didn't move on past the first round. I was convinced that the longer they stayed in the tournament, the more likely that people in North Korea would be allowed to hear about the general acceptance of North Korea on the *people's* world stage.

It was as if the world was yelling, "It's alright, NK, come out and play!" but then they had to go inside for their tea. =\

I actually picked up the book before I read this.. (1)

ITSABEAR (1959012) | more than 3 years ago | (#35020956)

It's an alright read. I feel like I might enjoy it more if it were written by someone with (not to disparage McGonigal's own track record) some bigger titles under their belt.

Solve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35021164)

Excuse my unamericaness ( I am not from the US ), but I do not really see how curing PTSD will save anything. This is anesthesia, not a cure.

This worship of "war by necessity" is a US fad, in case you americans didn't notice.

Been waiting for this to materialize on /. (1)

jlusk4 (2831) | more than 3 years ago | (#35021322)

...and I have this to say:

Oh, bullshit.

[with feeling]

I'd like to teach the world to sing... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35021654)

So if we can just get all the Israelis and Palestinians to start fragging each other in WoW, they'll suddenly start getting along? Yeah, I've never seen ANYBODY get pissed off at someone else in a MMORPG!

Jane McGonigal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35021678)

I just cant believe how no one has yet commented on how HOT she is.

Optimism not really a real-world strategy (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35022040)

I watched her video, because TED talks are often awesome.

However, her assertions are absurd.

She states (around 5:00) that when confronted with problems/obstacles in the real world, we often get anxious, depressed, cynical, etc. And that "this never happens in games".

First, that's simply wrong. Ever been ganked? Repeatedly? Ever raid for hours and some retard in your group just CAN'T stop 'standing in fire' and killing you all, giving up far too late into the night knowing you've just gifted yourself with a perma-headache all day tomorrow?

Second, what she seems not to recognize is the massive difference in loss-minimizing vs. gain-maximizing behavior. Generally, sane people in real life take loss-minimal choices: we only have one life to risk, one set of kids, one job, as well as fairly strict criteria requiring certain things to stay alive like food, water, and sleep. One of the reasons that games are fun is that we can entirely DISPENSE with this calculus, and the stress behind it.

In many games, there's a discussion of the 'death penalty' - what should it cost a player to lose his in-game character's life? The simple fact the question is asked at all shows how absurd it is to try to rationalize game behavior with real life behavior at such fundamental levels.

Let's imagine a game that gives us more choices like real life:
First, you decide what you want. You have a host of choices, but they generally revolve around happiness. You can sit on the couch, and gain +1 happiness an hour. Or, you could go skiing, and get +100 happiness per hour but with a small risk of injury (-1 to -100 happiness) that you can reduce by repeated performance.
Sounds like a game calculus so far.
But here's the kicker: skiing gives you lots of happines, but there is a >0 chance that you have a FATAL accident, which means that you lose, and the game destroys itself and you have to buy a new copy.
Would anyone play such a game? No, because to have such a "stringent" death penalty would stink. How about this? In WoW, if you die, you can't play for a month? Acceptable? No way. A week? An hour? Ten minutes?

On the other hand, think how much your life choices would change if you knew for certain that if you died, you could come back in, say, 50 years.

Games allow us to approach choices a certain way because they're free of consequence. To even suggest that sort of behavior is available in the real world, ever, is ludicrous.

Re:Optimism not really a real-world strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35022982)

"First, that's simply wrong. Ever been ganked? Repeatedly? Ever raid for hours and some retard in your group just CAN'T stop 'standing in fire' and killing you all, giving up far too late into the night knowing you've just gifted yourself with a perma-headache all day tomorrow?"

That's because you're playing games predicated on both good teamwork and a buildup that seems counterproductive to the healthy use of games (and art in general for that matter) as a lightener to the all too solemn gravity and seriousness of everyday life. You seem to be equating a wretche

There's too many GOOD games in the universe to deal with crappy ones that just happen to have a social aspect.

Ugh... (1)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35022362)

When she was struggling to recover from a concussion, she invented a game and enlisted friends and family as characters with tasks to fulfill, like coming over to cheer her up or keeping her off caffeine.

Is she single? If yes I can't imagine why.

I've followed Jane... (1)

krinderlin (1212738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35023046)

I 've followed Jane McGonigal since I saw her TED talk and even participated for a short time in her online "MMORPG", Urgent EVOKE. It was very much an online course in Social Innovation styled like a game. You made blog posts, participated in activities, and developed solutions to solve "quests". I recall that the first quest dealt with food security. It was fun, and I truely regret was completing the game. Work and school interferred and EVOKE fell to the wayside.

I truely hope that the participants, especially those living in the countries suffering the same problems posed to the players, were inspired and moved on to work to remedy these problems.

Jane McGonigal may may not have a PhD in game design OR in Human Behavior. However, I think she has a brilliant idea and an amazing dream. It really saddens me to see so many people try to rip her to shreds. WTF have you done to try and make the world a better place? Where do you get a pass to criticize someone who has taken on changing the world for the better, despite the nearly impossible odds?

Re:I've followed Jane... (1)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35025836)

Jane McGonigal may may not have a PhD in game design OR in Human Behavior. However, I think she has a brilliant idea and an amazing dream. ... Where do you get a pass to criticize someone who has taken on changing the world for the better, despite the nearly impossible odds?

I think the problem most people have with her is that there's not a lot of substance behind the message. I've read a bunch of articles about her, her games, and her ideas, but nothing about if her ideas actually work. I think you'll find a lot of /.ers questioning how a bunch of people on the internet might be able to solve real-world problems that they really have no ability to solve. I watched the TED talk a while ago and she really didn't say anything; like a lot of TED presenters most of it is bullshit dressed up as 'innovation'.

Case in point, I saw a comment on their website from a middle-school teacher saying that they are going to be hosting a bunch of 12-14 year olds in an after school group to play EVOKE. Now, I'm not arguing that games can't be used for education - far from it. But we aren't talking about education here, we are talking about attempting to solve a problem in the real world. I find it hard to believe that a middle school kid is going to be able to understand why some people don't have food or clean water, or why women don't have rights in some countries. Why not ask them how to cure cancer? Why not ask them to invent cold fusion? Why not ask them how to fight fundamental, militant Islam? These are problems that have stymied professionals, they can't be solved by a bunch of nobodies on the internet - whether you dress up the problem as a 'quest' or not.

WTF have you done to try and make the world a better place?

Just about nothing, but at least I didn't go online, play a game and then pretend I did something.

games do not save the world, please stop barking. (1)

recharged95 (782975) | more than 3 years ago | (#35027648)

Can we stop this gaming saves the world stuff? It's getting old, way old.


Games that the author/TFA discuss are not tools, but forms of entertainment. Try entertaining a soldier (and even through interactive, entertaining means) and guess what, I bet you get 100%, the same result. Just that games are on computers which means cheaper and maybe faster than having a person do it.

It's about the entertainment value. The general public does the same everyday by escaping to a movie or something. Games = mind abstracts, not necessarily reality and definitely not saving the world.

Gaming an answer (1)

victorpius (1973706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35040838)

Gaming is definetley a form of interactive entertainment - like reading - as opposed to passive entertainment like watching tv - Like playing sports Vs watching sports; playing sports through gaming for example is more interactive and productive, and benifecial to the mind and body than watching sports from an arm chair. No wonder these positive results for soldiers with stress disorders came through - gaming is highly interactive.
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