Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A great hour: On The Media's Gaming Episode

I don't play any video or online games, and I haven't since Ms. Pac-Man was still big in bars. In spite of this, or because of this, I found the year-end episode of OTM, about where games are now and where they might go, and how they affect much more than we realize, utterly fascinating.

If you'd rather not sit here and stream the fifty minutes, you can download an MP3 here or on the episode page. Visit that page for transcripts of the individual segments, as well.

Also on that page: note the links to two full talks that were excerpted in the show, repeated here: Jane McGonigal's Ted Talk, "Gaming can make a better world," and Jesse Schell's DICE talk, "When games invade real life."


Don McArthur said...

As the majority of our population is rendered useless by technology, automation and globalization, the state will lean on these immersive games, as our modern version of Bread & Circuses, to pacify the disgruntled mobs.

Brendan said...

That's the immediate reaction I usually have when this subject comes up. And, as you'll have noted from the opening of my post, I don't play video or online games. But this episode of OTM, plus Jane's TED Talk, make me think there's a decent chance there could be some good parts, too.

I think that humans often come up with new ideas while playing. I also think developing the underlying technology to support ever more sophisticated gaming could have effects that aren't so obvious, here and now.

In other words, a big part of why I recommended these two segments was because they contradict what I usually think. I think it's pretty easy to argue that a lot of the approaches we argue about now aren't doing much to solve certain problems, so I think we should all be open to thinking about radically different ideas. I don't think gaming is anywhere near the panacea that Jane McGonigal does, nor do I even expect more people playing (and building) new games is automatically going to lead to good outcomes, but whenever you get that many people interested in something for a long time, you're bound to come up with some interesting new ideas.

Don McArthur said...

I agree that all of this technology inevitably ends up facilitating and enhancing a field of interest to me - the visualization and analysis of massive datasets.