Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Let Us Discuss How Gamers Might Actually Save the World

VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable!Registered User regular
edited September 2011 in Social Entropy++
Some people may have already seen this video. I actually just came across it looking for resources about community development and change. If you have not, click the link below and watch it... it is 20 minutes long, but it goes by very quickly.

Jane McGonigal - 'Gaming Can Make a Better World'

For those of you who are too lazy to watch the video, here is a quick synopsis that does absolutely no justice to the talk itself. (A transcript of the whole speech can also be found at the link for those of you who would rather read than listen.)
Spoiler:

Now, I'm not saying I necessarily agree with what she is saying. For one thing, I would not ever seek to identify a person as a "gamer" and nothing else, nor would I state that ALL gamers are necessarily the same or share the same traits. For another and as an example, the urgent optimism she describes is only made possible in games because we know a solution to the given problem MUST exist, otherwise we would not have been given the problem at all. Real world problems are not necessarily structured this way. Similarly, virtual worlds are defined by boundaries and are designed by human minds whose product is limited by resources (cost, equipment, etc). But does that really mean that there isn't value in what gamers can put out when playing the "right" kinds of games?

I put this discussion to SE++ (fully aware of the risks involved): do you agree with what she is saying? Why or why not? Where are her arguments strong and where are they problematic? It is okay to disagree with her, but is there a way that validity can be found in what she is implying?

Vivixenne on
«134

Posts

  • Mortal SkyMortal Sky FONOTUNE Electric FairytaleRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Gaming can't save the world, that's love's job.

    Mortal Sky on
    Kochikens wrote: »
    oh man I saw an otter with a boner at the seattle one and this kid asked his dad, IS HE EATING A HOT DOG
    and I laughed forever
  • dbrock270dbrock270 Registered User regular
    I only play video games for the irony.

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    The thing with actions (and philanthropy) in a game is that it's a self-contained fictional scenario where the player doesn't need to sacrifice anything truly dear to them in order to affect a change for the better

    Saving the real world involves more than losing out on the +1 sword of buttmelting that the evil quest path would've rewarded you with

    It's... quite a noble concept but it seems too broad-reaching to me. The talk could've easily been about social and technological shifts in general engendering different approaches to improving the world

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
    yeah I reckon the true value behind the talk is looking for creative solutions to standard problems

    you'll notice at the end of the video that she talks about the NUMBER of solutions that Superstruct got, but she doesn't say much about the quality of them (i.e., realism etc)

    I didn't think of the point of self-sacrifice, but you can also think of it this way

    in playing a game at all, you are inevitably sacrificing something... time spent doing other things, mainly, as well as money and other resources

    you could say it's not a sacrifice because it's something you love doing, but there's still an opportunity cost associated

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    That's true but a game is generally designed to give quick satisfaction with the minimal amount of annoyance

    Volunteering at a charity centre is a world away from choosing option 2 in the quest dialogue with Sister Goodnun, "Yes sister I will help all your orphans by working through the night."

    Fade to black, and the orphans are safe

    I have never been in a situation where I felt I made a real sacrifice in order to affect a "positive" change in a game. Doing the same thing in the real world is very, very different

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
    plus if even if you DO make some kind of sacrificial option in a game (wherein your in-game experience changes based on the decision you've made)... you can always just REPLAY the game to see the other outcome

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Exactly. There's no permanence, there's no accountability

    And even if there was it wouldn't matter because it's not actually happening

    Games can enforce and demonstrate social norms (be nice to people, be heroic, don't stab people if you don't want consequences) but I question the value of that in real terms

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
    I wonder what her research actually entails

    because on the one hand, I can see her point

    but I can also poke an awful lot of holes in her argument

    I would say she is taking a few prevalent observations and trying to drag it out into something that can make the world a better place, but I feel like that's too critical, because then I ask myself whether or not *I* am giving people enough credit

  • MrMonroeMrMonroe Registered User regular
    space-invaders-futurama.jpg

    INVADERS! POSSIBLY FROM SPACE!

  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Edcrab wrote:
    That's true but a game is generally designed to give quick satisfaction with the minimal amount of annoyance

    Volunteering at a charity centre is a world away from choosing option 2 in the quest dialogue with Sister Goodnun, "Yes sister I will help all your orphans by working through the night."

    Fade to black, and the orphans are safe

    I have never been in a situation where I felt I made a real sacrifice in order to affect a "positive" change in a game. Doing the same thing in the real world is very, very different

    There is a game called Nier

    The game expects you to essentially play through it one and a half times to see the final ending, and the game is quite long and rather involved

    At the final ending, you are given a choice: you must either kill a party member who has been with you through most of the game, or save her through self-sacrifice

    If you choose to save her, the game explains what it will do, gives you several opportunities to back out, and makes it very clear that there is no going back

    If you still go through with it, the game erases all records of your character, cumulative stats and new game plus, deletes the save file, prevents you from ever creating a character with the same name ever again, and gives you an achievement and a special cinematic

    It is the only game I've ever known to do this

    And it's a hell of a thing

    Olivaw on
    7u0YG.gif
    PSN ID : DetectiveOlivaw | TWITTER | SCREENED | STEAM ID | BUY SOME STUFF!
  • VivixenneVivixenne aDAWRable! Registered User regular
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    I've seen little indie flash games do that kind of thing before

    But my point is less about effort and time; as Viv put it, the greater issue is that the player doesn't resent investing their time and effort in what is ultimately a form of entertainment

    If they did, then it has failed to be entertaining and has degenerated into some sort of experiment, and wouldn't really count as a game anymore

    Although if people really seek out all endings and all achievements purely due to an alien completionist philosophy and not because they enjoy doing it, then my argument falls apart

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • BeastehBeasteh THAT WOULD NOT KILL DRACULARegistered User regular
    i wonder how the movers and shakers of the past would have fared had they been autistic + addicted to world of warcraft

  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Well, there's a lot of achievements in that game that are a bitch to get, too

    A lot of secret weapons to find and craft that take a very long time to get materials for

    And in the end the game asks you to sacrifice all of that time and energy to save someone who you've gotten to like over the course of the game

    It is absolutely amazing

    Olivaw on
    7u0YG.gif
    PSN ID : DetectiveOlivaw | TWITTER | SCREENED | STEAM ID | BUY SOME STUFF!
  • BeastehBeasteh THAT WOULD NOT KILL DRACULARegistered User regular
    i cant sign the peace treaty ive got a raid in 15 minutes and i dont want to get docked dkp

  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    Olivaw wrote:
    Well, there's a lot of achievements in that game that are a bitch to get, too

    A lot of secret weapons to find and craft that take a very long time to get materials for

    And in the end the game asks you to sacrifice all of that time and energy to save someone who you've gotten to like over the course of the game

    It is absolutely amazing

    Or you can watch the ending on YouTube, I imagine

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • Sara LynnSara Lynn Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    I'm too tired to post, nothing makes sense

    insert words here

    Sara Lynn on
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    Edcrab wrote:
    Olivaw wrote:
    Well, there's a lot of achievements in that game that are a bitch to get, too

    A lot of secret weapons to find and craft that take a very long time to get materials for

    And in the end the game asks you to sacrifice all of that time and energy to save someone who you've gotten to like over the course of the game

    It is absolutely amazing

    Or you can watch the ending on YouTube, I imagine

    Yeah

    The existence of the internet does devalue the experience of those sorts of "serious consequence" games somewhat

    That is, if you're in it for the experience and not the cheevos or trophies or whatever

    7u0YG.gif
    PSN ID : DetectiveOlivaw | TWITTER | SCREENED | STEAM ID | BUY SOME STUFF!
  • Peter EbelPeter Ebel Deus Vult! OsloRegistered User regular
    She said "Epic Win" and I immediately wanted to burn the Earth. Sorry, such are my old man ways.

    Fuck off and die.
  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer I'm Speed Racer and I drive real fast. I drive real fast, I'm gonna last.Registered User regular
    Edcrab wrote:
    Olivaw wrote:
    Well, there's a lot of achievements in that game that are a bitch to get, too

    A lot of secret weapons to find and craft that take a very long time to get materials for

    And in the end the game asks you to sacrifice all of that time and energy to save someone who you've gotten to like over the course of the game

    It is absolutely amazing

    Or you can watch the ending on YouTube, I imagine

    You could but part of the experience of the ending is actually feeling the loss of your character and seeing all the time you put into the game erased

    It's an attempt to simulate death in an interactive medium that you can't feel the full effect of just by watching a video of the character dying, because that's only part of the experience

    It's like saying you could watch, I don't know, Casablanca, and experience all the emotions and inner conflict Humphrey Bogart's character goes through while he struggles over whether he should choose to be happy or righteous

    Or you could just read a plot summary on Wikipedia

    (note this is not a comparison of quality between the two at all. I haven't even played Nier I'm just talking based on what olivaw's said about it. My point is just that it's silly to say that a narrative work lacks punch just because you can find out what happens through means that ruin the effect.)

    speedsig2_zps388d2098.jpg
  • WrenWren Registered User regular
    if everyone just played games instead of having babies and killing people, the world would be a better place

    tf2sig.jpg
    TF2 - Wren BF3: Wren-fu
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    I'm going to solve problems by throw red barrels at the problem.

    I assume they will blow up the problem.

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    I didn't see the video, I'm going off the spoiler description.

    The problem with this is, the problems themselves. I just saw a different video yesterday that was defining the difference between choice and problems in video games and how the two often get mixed up. The important part of that is, it describes that problem solving is the foundation of video game creation. Even in the false sense of "choice" where an obvious better answer is present, it's problem solving (+5 better than +10).

    How many video game problem solving situations are applicable to the real world? There needs to be a clear definition on what problems in the real world are seen as being solvable by gamers. And why would gamers have these skills? From where I sit, a lot of the problems the world has don't involve gaming skills at all. It involves diplomacy, compromise, human interactions that video games are not based on whatsoever. The closest we can get is physical conflict solving - y'know, war, or "armed conflicts" (thanks Vietnam) (and Obama). But as has been discussed in the past, holding an M16 in real life is a lot different than aiming with your mouse and clicking to fire.

    Unless the military starts investing in remote controlled drones.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME

    HK1u2.png

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood Living Proof That Sometimes Friends Are Mean.Registered User regular
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    (note this is not a comparison of quality between the two at all. I haven't even played Nier I'm just talking based on what olivaw's said about it. My point is just that it's silly to say that a narrative work lacks punch just because you can find out what happens through means that ruin the effect.)

    I agree, but it has little to do with narrative impact and everything to do with affecting change

    I.e., we are talking about how doing "good", "meaningful" things in a game is still a world away from from the efforts and impacts necessitated by bringing about similar results in the real world

    So it's less an attack on story telling mechanisms and more that we don't quite agree with this TED talk's point

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood Living Proof That Sometimes Friends Are Mean.Registered User regular
    gamers can fix the economy by buying more funyuns

    OWQbJgI.png
  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer I'm Speed Racer and I drive real fast. I drive real fast, I'm gonna last.Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    I didn't see the video, I'm going off the spoiler description.

    The problem with this is, the problems themselves. I just saw a different video yesterday that was defining the difference between choice and problems in video games and how the two often get mixed up. The important part of that is, it describes that problem solving is the foundation of video game creation. Even in the false sense of "choice" where an obvious better answer is present, it's problem solving (+5 better than +10).

    How many video game problem solving situations are applicable to the real world? There needs to be a clear definition on what problems in the real world are seen as being solvable by gamers. And why would gamers have these skills? From where I sit, a lot of the problems the world has don't involve gaming skills at all. It involves diplomacy, compromise, human interactions that video games are not based on whatsoever. The closest we can get is physical conflict solving - y'know, war, or "armed conflicts" (thanks Vietnam) (and Obama). But as has been discussed in the past, holding an M16 in real life is a lot different than aiming with your mouse and clicking to fire.

    Unless the military starts investing in remote controlled drones.

    I think you're looking at things too literally

    COD doesn't teach you how to fight in an armed conflict. Not in the slightest.

    What it (and every other game) DOES do is teach you to examine and explore a complex system of abstract rules, and to then exploit that system for optimal gain.

    I can sit down in front of a computer program for the first time and figure out how to do a lot of things just by clicking around randomly. By contrast, if my mother approached the same program, she would stare at it dumbfounded for a few moments before telling me to do what she wants for her.

    This isn't something unique to games, but games have the benefit of being entertaining. You're rewarded for learning and for learning how to learn by being given immediately rewarding experiences.

    speedsig2_zps388d2098.jpg
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    well I mean COD does teach you how to not hipfire and 70% how to reload various armaments

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    I didn't see the video, I'm going off the spoiler description.

    The problem with this is, the problems themselves. I just saw a different video yesterday that was defining the difference between choice and problems in video games and how the two often get mixed up. The important part of that is, it describes that problem solving is the foundation of video game creation. Even in the false sense of "choice" where an obvious better answer is present, it's problem solving (+5 better than +10).

    How many video game problem solving situations are applicable to the real world? There needs to be a clear definition on what problems in the real world are seen as being solvable by gamers. And why would gamers have these skills? From where I sit, a lot of the problems the world has don't involve gaming skills at all. It involves diplomacy, compromise, human interactions that video games are not based on whatsoever. The closest we can get is physical conflict solving - y'know, war, or "armed conflicts" (thanks Vietnam) (and Obama). But as has been discussed in the past, holding an M16 in real life is a lot different than aiming with your mouse and clicking to fire.

    Unless the military starts investing in remote controlled drones.

    I think you're looking at things too literally

    COD doesn't teach you how to fight in an armed conflict. Not in the slightest.

    What it (and every other game) DOES do is teach you to examine and explore a complex system of abstract rules, and to then exploit that system for optimal gain.

    I can sit down in front of a computer program for the first time and figure out how to do a lot of things just by clicking around randomly. By contrast, if my mother approached the same program, she would stare at it dumbfounded for a few moments before telling me to do what she wants for her.

    This isn't something unique to games, but games have the benefit of being entertaining. You're rewarded for learning and for learning how to learn by being given immediately rewarding experiences.

    The rules and confines of a video game space are more restricted than reality, though. In the real world, laws and rules are more abstract and can be fought and changed.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    How about we just appreciate games for just being fun and being engaging art instead of trying to find some deeper justification for them that probably isn't true?

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110916/full/news.2011.543.html

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
  • The Otaku SuppositoryThe Otaku Suppository SKREEEEEOOOONKKKKKK Monster IslandRegistered User regular
    Yeah, that Jane McGonigal lady seemed alright until PAX East where she turned out to be batshit insane.

    Hey kids! Know what's a fun game?! Desecrating a graveyard with some fucked up version of Twister!

    We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty, and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds'.
  • Goose!Goose! Haven't played Fallout much tbh... I've played Borderlands. That count?Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Vivixenne wrote:
    Some people may have already seen this video. I actually just came across it looking for resources about community development and change. If you have not, click the link below and watch it... it is 20 minutes long, but it goes by very quickly.

    Jane McGonigal - 'Gaming Can Make a Better World'

    For those of you who are too lazy to watch the video, here is a quick synopsis that does absolutely no justice to the talk itself. (A transcript of the whole speech can also be found at the link for those of you who would rather read than listen.)
    Spoiler:

    Now, I'm not saying I necessarily agree with what she is saying. For one thing, I would not ever seek to identify a person as a "gamer" and nothing else, nor would I state that ALL gamers are necessarily the same or share the same traits. For another and as an example, the urgent optimism she describes is only made possible in games because we know a solution to the given problem MUST exist, otherwise we would not have been given the problem at all. Real world problems are not necessarily structured this way. Similarly, virtual worlds are defined by boundaries and are designed by human minds whose product is limited by resources (cost, equipment, etc). But does that really mean that there isn't value in what gamers can put out when playing the "right" kinds of games?

    I put this discussion to SE++ (fully aware of the risks involved): do you agree with what she is saying? Why or why not? Where are her arguments strong and where are they problematic? It is okay to disagree with her, but is there a way that validity can be found in what she is implying?

    She was the keynote speaker at PAX East this year, it was a very good speech I thought.

    I forgot about the graveyard game. That was a little weird.

    Goose! on
  • XehalusXehalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Video games are saving the world somewhat as a lot of people are taking their stress out on a virtual world, instead of the actual world.

    If only video games could cure/stop smoking during pregnancy and drunk driving.

    Xehalus on
  • TyrantCowTyrantCow Registered User regular
  • FramlingFramling Registered User regular
    If Fable 3 taught me anything, it's that most of our problems could be solved if Obama just left the country running overnight.

    you're = you are
    your = belonging to you

    their = belonging to them
    there = not here
    they're = they are
  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer I'm Speed Racer and I drive real fast. I drive real fast, I'm gonna last.Registered User regular
    Edcrab wrote:
    (note this is not a comparison of quality between the two at all. I haven't even played Nier I'm just talking based on what olivaw's said about it. My point is just that it's silly to say that a narrative work lacks punch just because you can find out what happens through means that ruin the effect.)

    I agree, but it has little to do with narrative impact and everything to do with affecting change

    I.e., we are talking about how doing "good", "meaningful" things in a game is still a world away from from the efforts and impacts necessitated by bringing about similar results in the real world

    So it's less an attack on story telling mechanisms and more that we don't quite agree with this TED talk's point

    Sure, I get that. And that's relevant to a point. But the thing is, that storytelling mechanic's goal is to invoke the feeling of giving up something real and valuable, even if you aren't actually doing so and even if you can actually get the same reward without making the sacrifice.

    I don't think it's a point of contention to say that art can affect people and change the way they think about things, and in some cases even the way they act. But for art to have any kind of effect like that you have to indulge it. It's suspension of disbelief. Of Mice and Men isn't a story about real people, but it's still tragic when George tells Lenny about the rabbits again. The Shawshank Redemption isn't a movie about real people, but it's still incredibly inspirational when Andy and Red meet on the beach as free men. A video game where you have the option to sacrifice yourself for the greater good isn't a real ethical dilemma, but if properly indulged can make the player think deeply about real-life equivalents, and possibly even better-equipped to make those real-life choices when they arise.

    That said, I think a big issue is convincing players to properly indulge a game such that choices like that can receive the thought and attention that they have the potential to invoke. Part of that has to come from more games being made that are better-written, and part of that has to come from games being regarded as a more legitimate artform

    speedsig2_zps388d2098.jpg
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User
    I'm really not sure that we're talking about the same thing any more

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
«134
This discussion has been closed.