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Online games and problem solvingFollow

#1 Mar 18 2010 at 7:50 PM Rating: Good
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Massively recently posted a speech by game scholar Jane McGonigal, highlighting the global problem solving
potential of Online Gaming (yes, really). I know it's only barely on topic, but I think it warrants a watch.

http://www.massively.com/2010/03/18/how-online-gaming-can-change-the-world/

What do you think?
Starry-eyed pie-in-the-sky madness? Or the ideal use of our human resources if approached wisely?

Edited, Mar 18th 2010 10:00pm by Zemzelette
#2 Mar 18 2010 at 8:43 PM Rating: Decent
Very interesting, for what’s proposed though to work in any way the games designer will need to be very inventive to make games like that compelling to play.
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#3 Mar 18 2010 at 8:45 PM Rating: Good
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I'd seen the speech before, and it's interesting, but the essential theme in her speech that people 'become better versions of themselves' online is just painfully, painfully naive.

Great, wonderous things can be done with the internet (wikipedia,charities,communities) but we have to remember that that World of Warcraft became so popular because real life wasn't.
MMOs and videogames give people the ability to do amazing things with minimal effort, and that's why it's so popular.

I'm not exactly what world she hails from, where MMO-player demographics and game mechanics and social values can even be REMOTELY close to the mindboggling intricacies and complexities of real life problems. People don't have nearly the same amount of influence in real life as they do in a virtual world where everyone is made equal. They aren't. Not even close, in skills, intelligence or otherwise.

For example, do you think that the average joe that typed up articles in the WoW wiki has nearly as much pull or influence as a Biologist who typed up a giant article on Prions on wikipedia? The biologist wrote the article because he had the training, knowledge and resources to write it.
That's not to say that the biologist couldn't be a person also playing WoW, or to generalize the MMO-player demographic, but the fact remains that the WoW wiki contains information that is easily obtained by almost anybody, comparatively, and usually is as a form of recreation.

I'm an optimist, but this to me... it's a nice thing to think about and give pep talks about, and projects like World without Oil might be able to change a few minds; but in the big, global picture, this is an idealistic pie-in-the-sky idea that she honestly didn't think all the way through.

If some of the people who play MMOs really wanted to help change the world, let's face it, they'd be doing it already.

But if she thinks she can make it work, hey, more power to her.


Edited, Mar 18th 2010 8:03pm by Kirbster
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#4 Mar 18 2010 at 9:50 PM Rating: Decent
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Hmmm..this is actually pretty interesting. The concept is there. Ive been a gamer for pretty much my whole life. The first console/computer game I played was Wolfenstein 3-D (old school FPS). I was so immersed in this game that from that day on...I became a gamer. I never really thought that the reasons behind a gamer gaming were as she described and how she says "we are a gaming culture that flees the "broken" world to a virtual one that offers a better and more rewarding collaborative environment. "When we're in game worlds I believe that many of us become the best versions of ourselves," she said. "The [their] most likely to help at a moment's notice, most likely to stick with a problem as long as it takes, to get up after failure and try again."

I do think that gaming has made me a better person. More open-minded, more motivation to solve a problem and to work on a problem until solved, much more resourcefullness, definitely made me a better 'soldier' hahaha (FPS being my fav type of game) speaking in-terms of awareness, knowledge, human behaviour and such. Gaming has made me somewhat of a 'perfectionist', like to get things done right the first time around (whos knows maybe it is because of the 'extra rewards' associated to finishing a quest/mission/task etc. early or on-time or done flawlessly). Of course, alot of this behaviour/personality I could have been just born with or picked up along the line of just growing up...but gaming definitely has influenced and strengthened these behaviours.

Now I know that I can't be the ONLY gamer that feels like this or has happened too. A person with the above personality/traits would be the ideal person needed to make change in the real-world.

An example: Take two untrained regular people. One played FPS on a regular basis and the other doesnt. Now I always have and still think that the person that played First-Person Shooter games on a regular basis would turn out to be a better soldier then a person who did not play at all or on a regular basis. Again, of course this all can be very controversial but when looked at broadly its pretty obvious and straightforward.

I think alot of people miss the bigger picture of her speech. Of course we not all 'angels' when we play games. There are of course those mean, verbally abusive, disruptive etc. players...but on the other hand theres a much, much bigger community of more well mannered, helpful persons that usually play the same game. Alot of you (no one on this site but other sites ive visted) have mistaken peoples 'gaming personalities and behaviours' with their real ones. These are games that usually encourage 'splitting up he player base' to choose sides, in turn, only encourages 'hate' for one side. Take EVE online for example. You choose side A - 'Pirates', or choose side B - 'Non-Pirates'. The pirates tend to be more aggresive, hostile, steal/loot your goods. You really think that every one of these people go out everyday and talk smack to the cashier taking to long or to the gas attendant that gave the wrong change?

One of the main reasons we (gamers) are not getting off our asses and fixing the corrupt society we live in is because...well in real life we have no White mages running around ready to raise you. We can't take a bullet to the head and press a button and respawn. But on a serious note, you have to look at what gaming can do to a individuals behaviour or personality and not what each person has said in-game or how each person acts in-game, or the game mechanics behind such behaviour (ex: Ninja looting in WoW)

And its not on a individual stance that we can change the world...its when we work together, problem solve on a mass basis, blog and share ideas; opinions; truth and facts and we incorperate or implement those ideas into society...this is what will change the world, not just one gamer. And its not the point that gamers 'havent done anything about anything yet' or that 'gamers would have done something already'. Its like when she says "it makes perfect sense because gamers can achieve more in online worlds then they can in real life. They can have stronger social relationships in games then they can have in real life, they get better feedback and feel more rewarded in games then they do in real life so he says FOR NOW, it makes perfect sense for gamers to spend more time in virtual worlds then the real world. Now I also agree that is also rational for now, but is not by any means an optimal situation. We have to start making the real world work like a game."

Edited, Mar 18th 2010 10:44pm by SSmokie
#5 Mar 18 2010 at 10:26 PM Rating: Good
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Nice thought, but all MMO's seem to be teaching kids nowadays are words like **************** and how to rage at people who don't do things right.

First and foremost, I'm never who I am in game, but more along the lines of who I want to be. This article seems to be mistaking people playing games as who they ought to be.

MMO's will never change the world until they themselves are teaching the world a common set of morals and principles to live by. Games with PKing in them would never change the world in a positive way, as it promotes the right of those who live, of those who are stronger, and of those who are smiled upon by chance.

I think that she has taken a point of view from a very optimistic standpoint. The potential lies there, but the potential is not a single direction.

From a completely positive control enviroment point of view, It is possible to change the world for video games. However, from my point of view, video games just expose children and young adults to the harsh cruelties of our world and the people in it. As much as it may help to shape the opinions in a good way, it can also shape opinions in a bad way. For every positive mentioned, the opposite negative is very much existent and possible.
#6 Mar 18 2010 at 11:22 PM Rating: Decent
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The thing is, We as a culture, as a race, are not ethical or generally good. I assure you, the only thing keeping people from stealing, killing, raping, etc, are the consequences of those actions. We're corrupt, violent animals who happened to learn to socialize. Inside of a game, those features come out a lot in younger players. I'm not trying to say that not one person is moral and fair, but that we're raised up to be that way.

In essence our insticts have been broken down through hundreds of years out of fear. Video games give aninimity. Twelve year olds can be tough guys, five hundred pound men can be female mithra(some like the dex bonus), but its an escape. Real life can be a pure downer when things arent going well and playing your character allows you much more control at the click of a few buttons.

I got on a rant and completely got off topic.... nothing to see here, move along.
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#7 Mar 18 2010 at 11:43 PM Rating: Decent
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@HatedRegret's last post: I completely agree. People are, by nature, a vicious and hateful species. We are held in check by the mere concept of law. If there was no law to run the world, people would be out there causing havoc on a daily basis - verbal/sexual abuse, rape, theft, and death are words that come to mind in this context. If we look at the real world more generally, even the "lawful" countries that run on principle and democracy (such as the US) are corrupt with these same disgusting people - and they themselves, the people proposing this democracy and these principles and forcing them on us (governments), run on their own agendas and are evil by nature (I mean how many politicians can you actually trust? - the answer is none, simple as that). Point in case, people are evil by nature and gaming brings out our evil side because there are no consequences whatsoever. This said, we're not all evil or bad people by nature, and just because we act rebellious in a video game doesn't mean that's who we actually are in real life, but in the real world if law didn't exist, we'd be a 50/50 evil/good species on a best case scenario - with law to hold us aground, we're more like an 80/20...and the sad part is that 50% of the 20% are the same people who promote freedom, honesty, unity, rights and so on.

P.S. I used the US as an example, but really every government and country out there is no different, but the US, the "best" of them, also falls in the same category.
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#8 Mar 19 2010 at 12:02 AM Rating: Good
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Oh for Pete's sake. People are not inherently good or bad, and law is not the only thing that makes people play nice.

Let's not oversimplify humanity with a C minus theory of development.
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Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#9 Mar 19 2010 at 12:17 AM Rating: Decent
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I absolutely think law keeps people in check, but we're mammals at the core. We have sharp teeth and claws. We're(some of us) hairy to keep warm and violent. Ever seen red from anger? Instinct ever taken over? Besides, these are just my opinions, though it saddens me to see they're C-.








edited because I thought you gave me a C+...... more sad now.

Edited, Mar 19th 2010 2:18am by HatedRegret
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#10 Mar 19 2010 at 12:26 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
We have sharp teeth and claws.


...see your doctor. Immediately.

I really didn't mean to rip on you too hard, but the fact is that humans are not vicious, brutal animals. Most animals aren't even vicious, brutal animals. Gorillas? Not that scary if you're another gorilla.

The reality is that humans have plenty of nurturing, prosocial instincts. These aren't purely products of a lawful society, either.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#11 Mar 19 2010 at 12:45 AM Rating: Good
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As and educator and someone who has been a gamer most of their life as well, I must say all of the responses provided have been so jaded, it's a little frightening. Was the speaker optimistic in her view? Absolutely. Is her vision idealistic? Absolutely. Is she saying she expects a sudden groundswell of change to some about immediately as a result of online games? No. That's not her point. She wants to take the skills that she feels gamers are learning and slowly help us as a collective, global society find ways to put them to productive, real-world use. A huge, ridiculous goal. But that's her Epic Meaning.

Now, I've only played two online games (FFXI and WoW), but I've devoted the last seven or so years to playing at varying degrees of intensity. Lately, I'm finding real life has more of a draw for me and I find myself wanting to do real things. After over 20 years of not playing (haven't played since I was a kid), I picked up hockey again. I've been playing for over a year now, and find myself just as happy on the ice, practicing skills or playing as I used to playing games. While the progress is slower than in a game which can be frustrating at times, I have seen a marked improvement and am becoming more happy to see that improvement and would like to see where else it can take me. (Blissful productivity, anyone ;) ). Regardless, I'm aware that this is perhaps not a direct parallel to what she's suggesting. I can't help but draw parallels between some of the things I've been doing lately to make my life more meaningful outside of games and some of the ideas she presented.

As an educator, I see the jadedness and the laziness of our society everyday in my classroom. I see the effects of over exposure to crass humour and/or violence kids don't fully understand until someone gets mad at them for using it in the wrong context. I see spelling and grammar and books flying out the window at a frightening pace. But I also see a generation of kids who aren't afraid to challenge ideas they disagree with. I see a generation of kids capable of innovation, who are hands on and who WANT to be doing things, not just reading about them.

The challenge that we're faced with as a society is providing ways to LET these kids do something. And not just when they become adults. What do kids have to look forward to now, at this very moment? Being able to vote? (Which should be a thing of pride, but voter apathy is so rampant, it makes me sick). Being able to get a "real job"? Whoop di doo. Kids see from their parents or on tv or from games that people hate their jobs and only do them for the money they bring in. As adults (or likely becoming adults), it is our responsibility to set an example for those who come after.

As demonstrated by many of the responses to this post, people don't feel they can make a difference, so they don't even try. Perhaps it's because I work with kids and am expected to be a positive role model that I refuse to believe I can't make a difference. If I find a wallet someone dropped and return it intact to the owner, haven't I made a difference? If I get a kid to read a whole book beginning to end (heck, even a chapter, in some cases) and find ways to learn from it and make connections to their own life, haven't I made a difference? It's not a world changing difference, but it's a start. Until we stop seeing all the negative in every situation and allowing ourselves to feel helpless at every turn, we AREN'T going to be able to harness the energy of any of the skill we online gamers have acquired.

However overly optimistic and naive her ideas may seem, at least this person, this gamer, has taken control of her worldview and decided to find an Epic Meaning. Until you've found that, large or small, I say shame on you for calling her crazy. Here we all are writing on a forum, waiting for a new game to come out while she's trying to make a difference. There's gotta be something to take away from that.
#12 Mar 19 2010 at 12:49 AM Rating: Decent
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The claws thing was a stretch, but let a woman claw your back, they're weapons :P

Take a look back at previous civilizations, previous cultures. Some are cultural and peaceful, but the mass amount of voracious ones outnumber the peaceful by a large margin. Vikings, barbarians, romans, greeks, egyptians, even as far back as cavemen to as close as good ole wild west. Those are only a tiny few listed mainly because I dont wanna go copy paste from a long list, but thats also not to say those cultures had zero good individuals. Just that as laws have become more dependable and catching criminals easier, we've changed. If those laws weren't there... I just don't see humanity being nice as a whole.


I have very little faith in humanity as it shows in my opinions. Through my experiences alone do I make them. I just haven't seen the good side of enough people to outweigh the amount of hate, violence, and utter lack of pity or concern for others.
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#13 Mar 19 2010 at 12:54 AM Rating: Decent
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i just want to add that this is actually a great thread that I can't for the life of me believe is on a FFXIV site. Takes all kinds I suppose.
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#14 Mar 19 2010 at 1:43 AM Rating: Decent
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Quote:

Take a look back at previous civilizations, previous cultures. Some are cultural and peaceful, but the mass amount of voracious ones outnumber the peaceful by a large margin. Vikings, barbarians, romans, greeks, egyptians, even as far back as cavemen to as close as good ole wild west. Those are only a tiny few listed mainly because I dont wanna go copy paste from a long list, but thats also not to say those cultures had zero good individuals. Just that as laws have become more dependable and catching criminals easier, we've changed. If those laws weren't there... I just don't see humanity being nice as a whole.


A very Machiavellian observation, but what it demonstrates is not that humans are violent by nature, only that some of them have -learned- that a violent and aggressive society can overcome a peaceful society that is not equipped to defend themselves. Because humans have also learned how to be materialistic; that is, that acquiring possessions can improve the quality of life, this has increased the incentive to overcome these societies to easily acquire their materials. In many cases, however, this is due to a need for survival. The "have-nots" having the means for violence but not survival, and the "haves" having the means for survival but not violence, not simple greed.

There are plenty of good people in lawless societies, but it's easy to overlook the good ones because when bad ones garner so much more attention. People just aren't so simple that they only avoid doing bad for fear of punishment.
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Hyrist wrote:
Ok, now we're going to get slash fiction of Wint x Kachi somehere... rule 34 and all...

Never confuse your inference as the listener for an implication of the speaker.

Good games are subjective like good food is subjective. You're not going to seriously tell me that there's not a psychological basis for why pizza is great and lutefisk is revolting. The thing about subjectivity is that, as subjects go, humans actually have a great deal in common.
#15 Mar 19 2010 at 6:18 AM Rating: Decent
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SolidMack wrote:
@HatedRegret's last post: I completely agree. People are, by nature, a vicious and hateful species. We are held in check by the mere concept of law. If there was no law to run the world, people would be out there causing havoc on a daily basis - verbal/sexual abuse, rape, theft, and death are words that come to mind in this context. If we look at the real world more generally, even the "lawful" countries that run on principle and democracy (such as the US) are corrupt with these same disgusting people - and they themselves, the people proposing this democracy and these principles and forcing them on us (governments), run on their own agendas and are evil by nature (I mean how many politicians can you actually trust? - the answer is none, simple as that). Point in case, people are evil by nature and gaming brings out our evil side because there are no consequences whatsoever. This said, we're not all evil or bad people by nature, and just because we act rebellious in a video game doesn't mean that's who we actually are in real life, but in the real world if law didn't exist, we'd be a 50/50 evil/good species on a best case scenario - with law to hold us aground, we're more like an 80/20...and the sad part is that 50% of the 20% are the same people who promote freedom, honesty, unity, rights and so on.

P.S. I used the US as an example, but really every government and country out there is no different, but the US, the "best" of them, also falls in the same category.


Wow, what a pessimistic look at human nature! I do not all all agree with you.
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#16 Mar 19 2010 at 7:13 AM Rating: Default
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Euhm what kind of useless discussion is this?
It has nothing to do with a game so shouldn't be in the general forums...
Maybe a lock?
#17 Mar 19 2010 at 7:46 AM Rating: Decent
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To those of you that think humans are a violent race that are only moral because of laws and punishments for wrongdoings:

I don't agree with you at all and in fact encourage you to take a look back. If humans were vicious creatures that are only looking out for themselves, we wouldn't be alive today as a species (there were times when laws didn't exist). We would have died a long time ago. Your concept of human viciousness is the result of how you were raised in today's society that boasts how important competition, money, and violence is. Studies all over support that humans are social creatures that extraordinarily benefit from working together rather than working alone.
#18 Mar 19 2010 at 9:52 AM Rating: Good
Quote:
Euhm what kind of useless discussion is this?
It has nothing to do with a game so shouldn't be in the general forums...
Maybe a lock?


Its a broad subject but still relevant to our community and I don't see why it should be locked.
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#19 Mar 19 2010 at 10:59 AM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
Euhm what kind of useless discussion is this?
It has nothing to do with a game so shouldn't be in the general forums...
Maybe a lock?


Then don't read it. I think it's relevant to all online games and gamers, even just to generate discussion. Which, I think, is part of the speaker's point. Just because it doesn't specifically apply to one game doesn't mean it doesn't apply.
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