Take a New Look at Gaming

Take a New Look at Gaming

November 22nd, 2006 | Posted in Art & Society, Science & Tech

A few months ago I sat in a Starbucks drinking coffee, and as is sometimes the way in coffee shops, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation at the table next to me. An earnest young man was actively working to recruit a young lady into his gaming business. The words he was using were about social good and changing the world, about creativity and education. By the time he was done, I was half-tempted to turn around and ask him if I could get a job in gaming. I don’t know if she accepted or not, but I know it piqued my interest.

I’ve recently noticed a number of appealing applications of gaming technology. They are still primarily targeted at younger demographics, but I suspect I will be gaming my way to knowledge, and maybe health, sometime soon.

  • There is a gym in California that is only open to teens. It incorporates physical and virtual components into a single workout through dance games where the game is played by moving your feet, and through virtual boxing.
  • The new Nintendo Wii, hard to miss in this week’s news, incorporates physical motion into the gaming experience.
  • The increasingly-popular Second Life is basically Sims on steroids with a twist: participants (or residents) can create, own, buy, and sell goods and move money made in Second Life to US dollars through a currency exchange.
  • The game Darfur is Dying is an attempt to use a video game as the centerpiece of an educational experience around the genocide on Darfur. I highly recommend playing the game, watching the video, and taking a look at the text.

Each of these applications is a closer blend of the physical and the virtual than traditional gaming. We’ve come a long way from batting a fuzzy white ball across a low-definition TV set in Pong.

Related Links:

NPR article, California Gym for Teens Mixes Exercise with Xbox, by Cyrus Farivar
Nintendo Home Site
Second Life
Darfur is Dying

Related blog entry: Virtual Money Becomes Real

Brenda Cooper

About Brenda Cooper

Brenda Cooper is a writer, a technology professional, and a futurist. Brenda writes science fiction, fantasy, poetry, and non-fiction. Two of her novels, The Silver Ship and the Sea and Edge of Dark, have won the Endeavour Award for the best science fiction or fantasy book written by a Pacific Northwest author. Wilders was also short-listed for the P.K. Dick award. She is also currently the Director of Information Technology at Lease Crutcher Lewis, a premier Pacific Northwest builder. Her love of technology, science, and science fiction combines to drive her interest in the future, and she delivers keynote addresses in the future a few times a year.