Top Five Ways Gaming is Saving the World
I’m sure that if you’ve been a gamer for very long, you’ve had someone scream at you about how you should stop wasting your time and do something serious with your life. It’s a pretty common belief that gaming is simply a recreational activity with no real redeeming values, but this is actually far from the truth. In reality, gaming, and the gaming industry, is a major driving force in making the world a better place for all people everywhere. So the next time someone claims you are wasting your time playing your favorite game, think about the following facts and be proud of how you are helping to save the world.
5 Gaming encourages World Peace
Yeah, you heard that right. When was the last time you knew a non-gamer who had friends they talked to regularly in every part of the globe? I have friends in China, Japan, Brazil, France, England, Russia, and the Philippines, and that’s just the people I talk to daily in Teamspeak. I’d be willing to bet that if you play any kind of multiplayer game, you would have a similar list. Whether it’s computer or console, Call of Duty to World of Warcraft, as a gamer you are far more likely to have friendships that cut across all cultural and ethnic boundaries. And that’s promoting world peace because it encourages communication that bypasses National and Political agendas and allows everyone to find ways to get along that don’t require armies and massive acts of genocide.
4 Gaming is good for your mental development
As this article points out this little factoid to fretting mothers who are in despair over their kids playing games. Gamers regularly face difficult challenges that require innovation and exceptional problem solving skills. Whether it’s determining which wall to place a Portal on to reach that impossible to get to switch so you can give GlaDOS the finger, or surviving an encounter with Deathwing, Gamers exercise parts of their brains that the standard rote memorization methods employed in school just don’t address. Schools and businesses all across the globe are beginning to realize that gaming is a valuable tool for honing critical thinking skills, and even scientists are starting to harness the power of collective gaming for tackling problems that even the best current computers are unable to solve. Players of the online puzzle game Foldit not only solved a protein folding problem faster than the computer could, they found a more efficient solution as well. So yeah, you aren’t wasting your time, you’re exercising your brain. (But that doesn’t excuse you from exercising your body occasionally too!)
3 Gaming relieves Stress
This one should be obvious, because which of us has not come home from a hard day at work or school and sat down at our games to unwind? In fact, some old studies done way back when Id released the first Doom showed that employees who had a “Doom break” over lunch generally tended to be more productive afterwards than those who didn’t. That release of pent up energy refreshed the mind, and enabled a greater focus in exactly the same way Recess helps elementary kids pay better attention afterwards. It’s a lesson we all knew as kids, yet we somehow forgot as we grew older and “more serious”. But as Stephen King reminds us, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
2 Gaming drives software development
This isn’t as obvious to non-techies like me but it is a very real fact nonetheless. From Augmented Reality to translator programs to your favorite Facebook app, many of the programs you use daily either started out as game development or benefited greatly from game development. The early Moos and Mucks were instrumental in developing network topologies that drive everything from Amazon.com to the World Wide Web itself. Text based adventures required parsers that developed into your grammar and spell checker in Word, and even the cutting edge semantic champion Watson owes its existence to the humble game Zork that could understand “Kill Troll with Sword”. Algorithms designed to animate hordes of zombies in your FPS now animate the armies of Mordor on the big screen, and motion capture technology was being used in Mortal Kombat long before it became a standard for every big budget Hollywood action blockbuster. So as you are watching “The Avengers” be proud of the fact that gamers like you made those special effects possible.
1 Gaming drives Hardware development
That’s right. NOTHING pushes the envelope on computer development more than the gaming industry. As this article from Next Big Future discusses ( article here ), Nivida’s Kepler processor is not only capable of raytracing in real time, which will make your next gen FPS shooter so realistic it will be hard to tell from reality, but will be used to create the fastest computer in the world in the near future. And even that pales in comparison to the possibilities being opened up by current research into graphene based processors that could allow hyper-realistic VR environments and Terahertz speed computers the size of a smart phone. The amount of money generated by the gaming industry that goes into basic computer research amounts to billions per year, and nearly every single field of scientific research reaps the benefits in faster computers able to perform more difficult tasks more cheaply.
So yeah, the next time someone tells you “you’re just wasting time”, make them read this article while you sit back and firmly plant your boot in Diablo’s ass, knowing you’re just making the world a better place.