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Saving the world with games

March 18, 2010

A few weeks ago, I waxed enthusiastic (for me, at least in writing here) about learning and games. McGonigal’s TED talk builds this out with descriptions and metrics of game play vs other kinds of problem solving.  Formal education is already playing second place (time and attention) to game playing.

What problems are game players solving? This question warrants more investigation to understand what is happing now. But it is also a call to creativity and design.

The emotional and intellectual content as well as the complexity of the problems solved in these games beats out learning the 3Rs sitting quietly at a desk from here on. McGonigal outlines how the complex problems gamers are learning to tackle are important are deeply engaging:

  1. Urgent Optimism.  Act now with a reasonable hope of success.
  2. Social Fabric.  We like people better after game interactions, win or loose.
  3. Blissful Productivity.  This kind of problem solving is fulfilling.
  4. Epic Meaning. Large scale, complex problems.

The entire video is worth a watch.

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