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Week 2 - initial thoughts on Gaming to save the world

by akoutropoulos on Jul 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM}
Finally catching up with gamesmooc this week ;-)

I haven't quite gotten to playing games just yet (runescape is not cooperating with me), but I did read over the text-based materials (thanks to Pocket!) and views the TED talks. This particular one was pretty interesting. The example she gives of Herodotus of the Lydians playing games one day and eating another, thus surviving an 18 year famine by eating on alternative days is quite a nice example of flow. It also ties in nicely with a story I read today of "Death by Diablo" where a teen died, presumably after playing Diablo for 40 hours without break for food or sleep. Maybe he had an underlying condition that precipitated his death - but it seems like even in a state of flow you can't ignore basic needs (water, food, sleep, bathroom breaks) for very long.

Read more here:


Okay, now here's a question for you: must those who solve real world problems through games be gifted? The Stargate Universe guy was MIT. What about our more average people? Or will games for change tend to "work" when in the hands on an elite?

And can they work at all, outside of fiction? It's not hard to note that nothing has changed in Darfur. Can games do anything other than raise awareness? This is an age-old problem. No one's going to say that awareness is a bad thing, but how can it be translated to action?

I think that we place too much emphasis on the word "gifted", in that we place the meaning of "genius". If you look at Eli (the character on Stargate that solved the problem), he looks like an average Joe, with quite big problems (divorced parent who is suffering from cancer). This however doesn't mean he is dumb - he obviously has some talent (and it was exploited to solve puzzles). I think that if we break out of that connotation of gifted as "he is smart and I am not", then we can all embrace things that we are good at and improve upon them :) So, in this aspect, no you don't have to be "gifted" to solve real world problems because gifted doesn't preclude every day people :)

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