Game designer Jane McGonigal has earned a name for herself by pushing
the boundaries of what can define a video game. Her award-winning 2004
Love Bees, blurred the lines between video game and reality,
drawing thousands of users into a collective experience to uncover the
fictional narrative behind the Web-based game. So when McGonigal
espouses the world-changing powers of video games, people tend to
listen. Speaking at the Ted conference, a gathering for all
things brilliant, McGonigal makes her case:
life-changing possibilities of video games were previously explored by
The Atlantic's Chris Bodenner, who argues that video
games could invaluably assist the elderly. Programs like Wii
Bowling help seniors to maintain social connections as well as providing
a safe and enjoyable means of regular exercise. Some physical
therapists already use a program called "Wiihabilitation" to "motivate
patients recovering from strokes, broken bones, or other
injuries affecting balance, coordination, or circulation." Meanwhile, The Atlantic's Niraj Chokshi explores how "casual gaming" is making video games more popular among middle-aged women than teenage men.
Is it going too far to argue, as McGonigal does, that a radical increase in video-game play could "solve the world's most urgent problems" such as "hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, [and] obesity"?
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