Episode 7: The Social Power of Gaming

This month we talk about something near and dear to our hearts, games. Specifically about their applications in the real world, which we learned a bunch about from Jane McGonigal’s book “Reality is Broken“. For a brief synopsis, you can check out her TED talk, “Gaming Can Make a Better World“.

  • What kinds of things can we learn from games?
    • Bernard Suits’ definition of a game “Voluntarily overcoming unnecessary obstacles” from the Grasshopper.
    • Nethack as an example of why gameplay trumps graphics.
    • Games can create and learn from their communities, and more indie games are doing this, like Minecraft, Overgrowth, and Endless Space.
    • Games can also help us negotiate our real lives, as McGonigal notes with examples like:
    • These games create ways of making reality more like a game, and thus more interesting.
  • From the Desk of Kickass McAwesome
    • Creators of Skynet and Google want to mine asteroids, a triumph of awesome and long term thinking. Check out their site, Planetary Resources.
    • Bacteria hard drives! Well, we’re not there yet, but these iron-eating bacteria might hold the key to more compact data storage.
  • Using games to create community
    • Gamers doing good with Child’s Play.
    • Blatant plug for our event, Headshots from the Heart, which is over, though the ChipIn is still open!
    • The inspiration for Headshots, Desert Bus. There’s a lot of these marathons cropping up, but it’s one of the largest.