originally I wrote this for Journalism class in college. I liked it enough to put it on Medium a few years ago and now here. Enjoy 😄
Gamification had made the headlines a few times in recent years, and most people probably didn’t think much of it, I took serious notice. accompanied by crowdsourcing, gamification has been used to make leaps and bounds in knowledge and research.
A common theme I see, especially with certain parenting styles, is the constant blame that video games seem to take for children with bad behavior or learning difficulties. Now I am not saying that all people believe this, nor do I mean to imply games are all innately good or bad, there is age appropriation for games. The games are actually strictly (contrary to popular belief) rated based on their content, to determine age-appropriate games for gamers. Now, why does that matter, well don’t let your kid play games M 17+ (Games with this rating contain content which the board believes is suitable for those aged 17 years and older; they contain content with an impact higher than the “Teen” rating can accommodate, including intense and/or realistic portrayals of violence (such as blood, gore, mutilation, and depictions of death), stronger sexual themes and content, partial nudity, and more frequent use of strong language.) now obviously they won’t always listen, but kid rebel sometimes, just do your best. So are there “bad” games, yes and they are meant for adults and the fact kids get ahold of them is no reflection on ‘gaming culture’ itself, I personally find it annoying when kids play games they really shouldn’t be playing, but it happens and they yell at you over the Internet profanity you’d expect from a very angry sailor.
Ok, that was a long soapbox to get to this point, if there are “good” games, and “bad” games there must be “good” uses, functional games. Well, there is a resurgence of people using games to teach kids faster and for effectively, easier to learn when their interest and attention are on the teaching; that seems really great, but wait it gets better. Scientists looked at the potential of getting people’s interest and attention on a massive scale, of course, to further their own ambitions and goals. The idea was to take the concept of crowdsourcing and apply it to gamification, and the research they gamified was protein folding, the online game was called “Foldit.” The gamification was extremely successful, however, Foldit surpassed expectations, when in 2011 players created a 3D model of an enzyme that scientists hadn’t been able to accomplish for 15 years.
I personally think games have far more potential for good than any possible negative effect. There are even more studies that are showing gaming may increase certain cognitive abilities among other things. The real power of games is going to be in gamification and crowdsourcing where we essentially tap into the limitless potential of humanity’s collective imagination and humanity's raw computational power.