WOW FTW: Gamers Can Save the World

This has popped up three times in the past 5 days, so I have to drop it. I watched this speech here by Jane McGonigal about a week ago, in which she describes Gamers — specifically those that play MMPORGs like WOW (Massive Multi Player Role Playing Games like World of Warcraft) — as super empowered individuals geared for epic wins.

Then just yesterday, I read a story in the New York Times about a school tucked away in the corner of NYC, using games to teach children how to think, act and cooperate differently — better, in some ways — especially in this new world we live in.

Definitely read this story and listen to the speech, even if you have no interest in games and even if you are certain that all WOW players are Southpark fat asses wasting away their lives. Its not the “playing games helps kids learn” idea that is stunning, its the evolution of that maxim due to technology into a much faster, much more varied, much more violent version of itself. Socrates and Laozi played chess; now we quest through worlds slaying dragons … Or?

Biggest stat that hit me:

— millions of hours logged on video games so far and someone said that 10,000 hours makes one a “master.”

What are gamers “mastering”?

8 thoughts on “WOW FTW: Gamers Can Save the World

  1. I definitely believe that gaming can teach a certain set of skills although this can vary depending on the type of game and the way that it’s approached.

    What makes gaming fun, really? At the core, it’s finding solutions to problems presented in a way that isn’t just challenging, but fun. It’s similar to chess (well, games that require a high level of planning and strategy) and exercises the part of the brain responsible for higher thought processes – the cerebral cortex.

  2. yeah i love games too, but fat asses saving the world? super empowered individuals? i think you give the WOW crowd too much credit.

  3. Hi fellerz

    yeah most of the WOW crowd is useless. In Trade Chat, which is basically the big chatroom that most WOW players hang out in, you can basically catch an idea of what people are like and yes, ignorance and venal BS do reign. At the same time, anyone who has played a similar game, like i know Charles loves Starcraft and plays against foolz online, you will also meet people who are genuinely intelligent, personable and eager to achieve (within the game) …

    I guess what the TED speech and the article are trying to say is that, chess is outdated and not fun enough for today’s and tomorrow’s kids?

    I love chess.

  4. From what I’ve seen, Starcraft is much more demanding in terms of focus and strategy. It’s 15-40 minute bouts of uninterrupted concentration where you have nothing but your skills and wit to rely on. No items, level ups, characters, etc.

    You should install a subscribe to comments plugin Sascha.

  5. i’m not gonna get into the MMPORGs good or bad judgment. but you can learn from anything around you if you have the passion to learn.

    E.g. MMPORG sorta got me interested in 3D programming and even hacking! (i play ‘the tower of eternity’.never played wow cos i think it’s too hard for me…)

    But who cares about that, play hard and get wasted cos when you can beat anyone in wow, you feel like you own the world lolz.

    ps starcraft is classic. used to zerg rush those niggaz like there’s no tomorrow.

    omg so many zergs!

  6. pwning is one of life’s great pleasures.

    i myself love the sights and sounds of High Templar Lightning striking a massive zerg rush 😉

  7. you will certainly like the sounds of high templar screaming: out of mana, and getting swarmed by another huge wave of zerg rush!

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