How gaming can make a better world

April 26, 2011

Online resources

“If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week by the end of the next decade.”

(Jane McGonigal: Gaming Can Make a Better World, 2010)

This is a funny and fascinating talk given by game designer Jane McGonigal, who’s goal for the next decade is “to try make it as easy for people to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games.”

I love games, but I don’t play online very much at all.  I do spend heaps of time playing them, though, and I know tons of people who do the same with online games like World of Warcraft.

I also have a couple of junior music assignments which focus on composing music for games, since this is one industry which always needs good composers.  Some games have got the most stunning music in their soundtracks.  Case in point: God of War, a personal favourite of mine.

During her presentation, McGonigal shows some crazy stats, like:

  • today’s average young person living in a country with a strong gaming culture will have spent 10,000 hours playing online games by the time they’re 21 years of age (10,080 hours is the amount of time that a young person in America spends in school from fifth grade to graduation, with perfect attendance).
  • the number of years we have collectively spent playing World of Warcraft (5.93 million years) is also the number of years that have passed since our earliest primate ancestors stood upright.

Read that last point again.

She talks about why so many people spend so many hours playing games, how playing games may have helped an ancient culture survive a famine and rise to become the Roman Empire, and how she is working to develop games which help us solve the world’s most pressing problems of today and the future.

Very cool.  Go look.

TED Talk: Gaming Can Make a Better World (Jane McGonigal)

Creative Commons License
How gaming can make a better world by Gabrielle Deschamps is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting me.

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About Gabrielle Deschamps

I'm a secondary music teacher, interested in music technology and its integration into classroom pedagogy.

View all posts by Gabrielle Deschamps

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