How Games are Changing the World

Gizmodo has just posted a very interesting piece about some games or game designers who are using the medium as a way to advance social or scientific change.

There’s a surprisingly varied number of ways that games and gaming are being leveraged to improve the human condition:

  1. Medical research: Researchers at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon Universities have designed 2 games (FoldIt and EteRNA) that allow players to fold proteins or arrange molecules to create RNA strands. Every other week Stanford will then synthesize between 4 and 16 strands. Bam! Crowdsourced medical research!
  2. Making people happy: Katherine Isbister, a researcher at NYU-Poly is working on the idea that moving as if we were happy would elevate our mood. A principle long-known in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Professor Isbister is creating games that study, and do, just that.
  3. Improve communication: after a trip to Japan (where he became lost in Tokyo), game designer Chris Bell created a game called Way, where players communicate using “universal” signals and gestures to solve puzzles.
  4. Study history: the creator of the cinematic cut scenes for big games like Grand Theft Auto III, Navid Khonsari is creating a game that takes players into the events of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Players are immersed in the lives and situations of a variety of characters and thus gain a broader perspective of a powerful time in 20th-century events.
  5. Understand human behaviour: Use It Better, a company whose technology is normally used to identify cheating players, believes that their tech can be used to remotely analyze a host of human behaviours and conditions, such as colour-blindness, diabetes or Attention-Deficit Disorder.

How Video Games Are Changing the WorldGroups like Games for Change help harness the motivation, creativity and energy of a MASSIVE group of people to help improve the world by having fun - a potent combination indeed!

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