Focus on the Positive, Why Not?

New Scientist presented an article reviewing the potential of games and gamers.

One quote, attributed to Edward Castronova, caught my attention:

“For a lot of people, contemporary reality sucks. And everybody wants to be a hero […] That person is looking at this choice: I could either work in a coffee-shop or be a starship captain.”

Are gamer’s motivations really that bleak? I can think of several positive reasons why I play MMOG’s. MMOG’s can be an opportunity to socialize with friends, to relax, to have fun, and can stoke creative fires.

The article goes on to list positive characeristics that may be shared by gamers:

“they relish intellectual challenges, they are independent, they know how to gather resources and information, and they can solve problems. [they] carry these attributes beyond the confines of the game into the real world.”

The article closes with a discussion of how games, game mechanics and gamers can be harnessed to improve the world. Games can potentially make common tasks more rewarding (customer reward programs, for example), solve problems and educate.

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