Can Gaming Create A Better World?
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
When I first heard about this video, the first thing that popped into my head was that someone was really trying to get people to play games. Could this be another form of advertising to hook non-gamers into playing MMOs? Jane McGonigal, a video game designer famous for creating games like World Without Oil, Superstruct, and Evoke thinks that playing video games can help make a better world for the people of tomorrow. At first I thought it was a joke, at least until I heard her claims. She did stress a lot of fine points, which we will break down as we go on with this article. What could video games possibly offer that can be beneficial to our crisis-filled world? This I gotta see…
Obesity? No way!
One of the first things from her monologue that struck me was that playing video games can actually help people who are obese. I don’t mean to be a total arse but most of the players I know are pretty obese (and are getting fatter by the minute). Well she’s right in a way… MMO gamers can play as their best possible version (who knows? Taurens are pretty hot yes?). No one’s fat, unless he/she is designed to be like that. People don’t exercise because they are inspired by their online physique! They do it because they need to.
Stressing Her Fine Points
I must say, her speech really did capture me as she managed to stress some of the most important aspects that should be addressed today. People today have become quite unstable and are on the brink of self-destruction. Today, people would rather argue than work together, which is why we must all be the best person we could possibly be….
Behold THE EPIC FACE! According to Jane McGonigal, the portrait above reflects the gamer’s desire to win, massive concentration, and overall optimism. This is the face most gamers have when on the verge of something called an EPIC WIN. Figuratively speaking, this form of excitement (or inner face) should be acknowledged by today’s population as it shows the spirit and determination of a gamer who’s on the verge of losing but at the same time on the verge of reaching something great.
It’s kind of similar to a basketball game when the losing team has possession of the ball and decides to shoot a BUZZER BEATER. If I were to compare it with the people of today, they would be too scared of being laughed at after throwing an AIRBALL, hence them accepting their defeat even though the chance for a buzzer beater was there. As I understand it, this is the face of a person/gamer who’s not willing to go down without a fight. This is the face of the guy who took the risk with utmost optimism, a quality that’s rare for most people.
What Gamers Gain(?)
When playing games, we become the best version of ourselves. How, you ask? When playing games, not only are we stronger (and able to run great distances without breaking a sweat), smarter, and far for enduring than our real selves; we are also able to exercise various traits that are essential for what we are facing today. In the online world, we are a lot happier when working. For some reason, our characters are used to handling problems and actually prefer solving them rather than staying at the inn with a bunch of woodland fairies. There’s always something to do, and we’re unafraid to embark on a long journey to try and fix things in our own individual way.
What Gamers Gain
Another thing that captured me was her perception on a gamer’s level of exercising communication. In the online world, people are able to coordinate with one another to achieve long-term goals. Even though these individuals just met, players are able to invest a high amount of trust in each other to have their backs in a moment of crisis. Tanks for example have a hefty repair fee (if they die, at least) and yet they rely on the healers and DPSers to heal them and finish off the enemy before they drain their lives to zero. It’s a big responsibility, and a single mistake can topple down the whole system, but regardless of these consequences, players are able to band together to achieve their goals even after meeting each other merely minutes ago.
Where Humans Should Level Up
May I say that her stand on the four personalities struck me hard. Aside from those mentioned above, players (or their characters) are filled with the desire to act immediately. There is definitely no time to stare into blank space after a terrorist attack. Why? Because people should enjoy working hard for a brighter future, always ready to face hardships whether it be a frost wyrm attack or global warming.
If players can chronicle a whole Wiki chapter about a nonexistent world that offers limited content, what more could they do in the real world? Everyone is individually capable of changing the world and I myself believe some of her claims (YES SOME). Humans should trust each other rather than brush ideas aside so that people can continue to bring up new ideas to help make the future a better place.
Though the video managed to embed these life changing thoughts into our brains, it’s time to face reality as it is. One simple factor to consider would be that playing games is a waste of time for a lot of people, and try as she may, people would rather be productive in real life than stroll the imaginary world of MMO games. It’s fun when you’re fighting dragons and smashing beholders, but it’s different when you’re facing the stock market and other real life jobs. Yes, people should act like their online personas (if they have one). With the glorious mindset, inspired personalities, and uttermost devotion, we can really change things. Some people lack productivity when introduced to this parallel universe. Playing video games isn’t the key to a better world, because everyone can be their best versions in their own special way.