TGC '10: Can Videogames Save the World?

TGC '10: Can Videogames Save the World?

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At Triangle Game Conference '10, Six Days in Fallujah Creative Director Juan Benito asked the question: How can videogames change, help, or save the world?

Juan Benito is very familiar with how videogames and the real world interact with one another - founder of Rainbow Six studio Red Storm, he's currently the Creative Director at Atomic Games, the developers of the ill-fated Six Days in Fallujah. Fallujah was developed in close concert with real members of the armed forces who wanted to tell their stories and experiences of the Battle of Fallujah through a game, but came under fire by people who thought it was disrespecting the seriousness of the situation in Iraq.

Benito admitted that the title of the panel might have been a bit too far-reaching - videogames can't save the world, because it doesn't really need saving. He didn't think "How Videogames Can Help the World" fit, either - it was too ambitious. In the end, he'd settled on "Can Videogames Change the World?" By this, of course, he meant change for the positive via gaming and game technologies, not the sort of negative change that tends to pick up coverage in popular media.

There's no question that gaming technology can help, said Benito, pointing to the growing idea of "serious games" that help train soldiers and professionals. He himself had worked on a project using videogame technology called ReliefSim in 2002, a simulation to help people run refugee camps and manage a crisis. But hardware itself could be helpful, as shown in the United States Air Force's purchase of 2200 PlayStation 3s to make a cluster supercomputer in the interests of national security.

But games themselves could change the world, too. Back in the days of the Mayans, they used to play a game where teams tried to throw a ball through a stone hoop - and the losing team was sacrificed to their gods, while the winners gained influence over the tribes. Even today, he said, isn't a political election essentially a game? Two teams compete, there are rules and strategies, and the winner gets special powers.

In fact, he argued, gaming technology could make politics - and the participation in said politics - more efficient.

But thinking along the lines of how to run a town or state or even a country through gaming wasn't looking at the big picture, either. Just look at Facebook, said Benito, which is now the fourth most populous country in the world behind the United States. "Facebook is a post-national country... we're going to be thinking less about national lines, and more about empires of the mind." Guilds in games like WoW are often multi-national - does it matter whether that Restoration Druid is from France if they can heal well?

Even now, with apps like FourSquare, games were affecting the real world. "The question I asked at the beginning should have been: 'Can videogames run the world?'"

"I think the answer is yes," said Benito, but expressed concern that Sony's recent decision to remove Linux OS from the PS3, and Apple's closed-system outlook on the popular iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad would hamper any development: "But who is running the games?"

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We have superheroes!

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We can save the world! Not just run it or change it.

The people who run the games are the faceless corporations. Who we later rebel against.

duh

Onyx Oblivion:
We have superheroes!

We can save the world!

Indeed!

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Onyx Oblivion:
We have superheroes!

We can save the world! Not just run it or change it.

And who saves the world from us!

I think this is getting waaay to far fetched. Video games can change people, change the way they think about life, change the way they dress, change their tastes... but run the world? I smell an I-Robot future mixed with some Minority Report here.

Thibaut:
I think this is getting waaay to far fetched. Video games can change people, change the way they think about life, change the way they dress, change their tastes... but run the world? I smell an I-Robot future mixed with some Minority Report here.

I just smell a moment from Terminator when all will end and we will all be forced underground!

...on a serious note though, simulators for really, important jobs are key to trainign these days, and, if they can work forward, and become even better...well, lives could be saved

He just enforced my idea for wars being waged by using peggle.

the thought that national lines could be eliminated for national lines of the mind(ie facebook) blew my mind.

Vitor Goncalves:

Onyx Oblivion:
We have superheroes!

We can save the world! Not just run it or change it.

And who saves the world from us!

Jaredin:

Thibaut:
I think this is getting waaay to far fetched. Video games can change people, change the way they think about life, change the way they dress, change their tastes... but run the world? I smell an I-Robot future mixed with some Minority Report here.

I just smell a moment from Terminator when all will end and we will all be forced underground!

...on a serious note though, simulators for really, important jobs are key to trainign these days, and, if they can work forward, and become even better...well, lives could be saved

ah, good point.

I think that we should develop robots that we use to fight other countries with, then when they realise that they have inferiour technology they would use robots, then the world would be fighting each other with robots controlled with a FPS style HUD. Then it would turn into a game and everyone would be happy :L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L:L

Can video games run the world?
No.
But they will eventually be accepted as adult info-tainment and shed this 'only for kids' dismissive attitude the baby-boomers seem to have towards them.

Edit

Now I'm confused.I always thought it was the captain of the winning side who got his head cut off by the captain of the losing side in the Mayan ball game.

I don't think it's video games so much as "good techonology" that would help "save" the world, but okay...

"Facebook is a post-national country... we're going to be thinking less about national lines, and more about empires of the mind."

*reads quote*
....
*quote registers*
....
o.o
0.0
O.O
....

holy shit.... as an Politics and International Relations student.. this gave me an intelectual bonner...

...am I the only one that thinks there is some significance to this?

ntnimara:
"Facebook is a post-national country... we're going to be thinking less about national lines, and more about empires of the mind."

*reads quote*
....
*quote registers*
....
o.o
0.0
O.O
....

holy shit.... as an Politics and International Relations student.. this gave me an intelectual bonner...

...am I the only one that thinks there is some significance to this?

I get it but I just cant see anyone claiming facebook as an identity or dying for facebook. we as a civilization have a long way to go before we think about the absolution of nationality. hell even facebook encourages this by not letting you view the profiles of people who are not part of your network or something like that.

im not a facebook user really so forgive me if the last part is inaccurate.

ntnimara:
"Facebook is a post-national country... we're going to be thinking less about national lines, and more about empires of the mind."
...
holy shit.... as an Politics and International Relations student.. this gave me an intelectual bonner.
Am I the only one that thinks there is some significance to this?

There IS some signifigace to it.
When people get the ability to talk and interact with eachother, they build up relations and stories and it unifies them as a group.
In the past these groups were defined by geographical restrictions, today they are more defined by intellectual or behavioral preferences, because of the internet and the oppotunity to unite under stronger similarities than geography.

This new grouping has both pros and cons.
Pros; would be the individuals discovery that they have things in common with others regardless of country and race and therefore there will hopefully be more political preassure to avoid wars between countries. Disasters in far away places becomes personal as you would know people in that area.

Cons; will be locally devided societies into intelectual and economical classes, because the individual now has oppotunity to unite with its fellows online, and it is not forced to mingle with people of other belief (because geography is no longer important). Thus creating less understanding and empathy towards others on a local scale.

No body here has seen Ghost In The Shell: SAC?

Really?

"The empires of the future, will be the empires of the mind"-Albert Einstein. As quoted in this anime. ANd it was proposing the relationships and society of a techocracy that was usurping the human frame...since the 1980s!!

A bit late seeing as how this is something the Japanese are working on. Seen the robot hand, SWARMbot AI and cloak tech patents that they can use to make a Tachikoma? Insane...

 

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