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Diablogging about Games, Gaming, Gamification

alesnick's picture

This is a forum for students in two courses at two different institutions to explore experiences, ideas, and questions about playing games online; about using games to change the world; and about what we think about all of this.  Diablogging together will also give us an opportuinty to see how the Internet might foster conversation/build community about issues of shared interest.  Could this diablog ever work or feel like a world-changing game? 

The first exchange will happen this way.  Members of one class will each write a response to at least three of the following questions.  At the end of your post, please pose a question that a member of the other class will answer as part of their writing their responses to at least three of the questions.  Please be appropriate and respectful in writing in public to others.  At the same time, please don't hold back on saying what really interests you and where it comes from.  If you have any questions, please let your instructor know! 

Do you think playing games can help change the world?

Why do you feel the way that you do?

What is something that McGonigal said that you found interesting and disagreed with and why?

Name one personal experience you had with a game and what it taught you.

Briefly describe a new game/invention and how it would change the world.

What are you still curious about?

With our second exchange, we are hoping to explore the uses of online, public writing such as we are trying out here.  When and what do you want to disclose?  Why? What are the potential risks and benefits of sharing this way? Is there educational value in this way of working?  Please address at least two of these questions in your next post. 

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Serendip Visitor's picture

If you volunteer too much of

If you volunteer too much of your life on the internet you have no freedom. about 70% of active on the internet is monitord by the FBI and other law emforcement agencies. there are key words if typed in the public search engines like Google or bing send out red flags.

one of the highest risks of the internet is privacy and indentiy theft. there are no rule in someways of the internet. what we can upload and download. To movies, tv and radio, the internet makes it easy to get to watch things. indentiy theft is a big issuse in the US. most amricans fall prey to.

Deb Sarlin's picture


I've had students create pop-up books and online learning games. I really appreciate the information about minecraft can you export files out to a 3d printer?

Brandi D.'s picture

When I want to disclose on

When I want to disclose on the internet, I mainly do that through email, this is because it gives me a chance to open-up about things that are going on with me to my friends and family. The benefits of this is that it helps me express myself and also can allow me to communicate with people that I don't see everyday. I think that there is educational value when using technology to work because it can help your writting skills. For example, when using a computer to write, you can use spellcheck, which can help you learn from your mistakes. Potential risks can come from the lack of privacy invasion that the internet can give a person.

fulani freeman's picture

I want to disclose the amount

I want to disclose the amount on games on the internet because when I was watching the video it made me realise how bad it actually was. I seen on the video that, people were actually dieng because of the addiction to gaming. I Also think this prosesses should start now before people start getting inrouble and more lives are lost. Some of the poteintal risk of sharing this is people could go into a panic and take it the wrong way, and some beneifits will be that people stop letting their kids and themselves get addicted to something that can be deadly. No I dont think there an educational value because when your on the internet everything is basicly done for you.

yolanda's picture

There really isn't anything

There really isn't anything that I would disclose on the internet. I still don't find it to be secure. The potential risk of inputting your information on the internet is identity thief, but the benefit of sharing means you don't have to repeat yourself in telling someone your info. Yes, there's educational value in sharing information.

Lakeya's picture

In my opinion you would want

In my opinion you would want to disclose anything personal. I say that because everyone don't need to know what you do on your free-time. When, i think while your in class or on the job. The potential risk is getting fired from a job or someone getting all of your information. I don't think so because disclose is something that you would want to keep privet not spread out information to everyone.

Mark Squilla's picture

By blogging on this topic, i

By blogging on this topic, i believe it could be helpful to see other peoples opinions on the same subject. It can help you to think about more than one way of doing things. i want to diclose my thoughts on the internet and see if other people would be able to help me out if i have a problem that i couldn't solve.Two or more brains thinking about a topic is better than just one. More information can come out of it. i believe that you can learn many different things working this way.

leamirella's picture

GAMING (types?)

Reading McGonigal (and to be frank, not quite enjoying her writing style) made me think of the types or genres of games. I don't believe that asking the question, "Do you think playing games can help change the world?" is quite the right way to phrase it. Rather, I think that it should be more specific because the perceived "usefulness" of gaming alters dependent on the type. Perhaps it would be productive to diffrentiate between gaming genres? (I realize that this type of categorization might difficult but I think as though this would be important)

SittiZulaiha Tyson's picture

Here's a few reasons why

Here's a few reasons why people are not to be trusted. We never get the chance to see exactly what the person is going to do. For example a person say they are buying a gun for protection, but we never really know what they are buying for right? We never get the right to really see what the person is going to do with the gun only what they tell us.

Tiff L's picture

I do not think that gaming

I do not think that gaming could change the world, because a game is the total opposite of real life. In the game world you don't have the same rules and guild lines, as you do in real life.

Because game are fantasy's that people wish were real. And life is real situations and real experiences.

One experience i had with a game is that in games you can die and come back to life, but in the real wold when you die there is no coming back.

leamirella's picture

I think you're reinforcing the boundary...

I think that you're reinforcing the boundary between the "virtual" and the "physical" space. While I have experienced your anecdote about dying in a game too, I've also experienced games that integrate both worlds and thus, blur the lines between what is real and what isn't. Additionally, gaming is not necessarily for purposes of diversion as you suggested -- they aren't always fantasies. 

Also, your post made me think of this new app -- a form of "gaming" (I'm going to call it that for the meantime) and is more pervasive and demands that you integrate your physical space with the world that is unfolding on your phone. Could something like this potentially change the world?

MGuerrero's picture

Gaming not real life

I am curious to know what games you have in mind when you are answering these questions. I know that in some games, people do die and come back to life. But like in the Sims game people perform tasks similar to those in real life you cannot come back to life. In a sense I can see how this is a form of a fantasy world for people. Sometimes people can learn from games and are able to communicate these lessons into their real life. I think when answering these questions it all depends on what games you are thinking about. Maybe If we understood, what you are referring to we can get on the same page. 

Mark Squilla's picture

I believe that in the future,

I believe that in the future, playing games can help change the world. In the future, technology is going to become so advanced that some way people will be able to make games collaborate with real time jobs and help people succeed in their profession to the fullest. I think technology will be the way of life in the future. For me, playing games is a way to relax and focus my time on the game to complete a mission or task that is given to you. Even if i am playing a sports game, I am focusing my mind on the game to win.
if anybody puts as much time and effort into their real life job or career as they do into the games, i believe more people will be at the top of their profession.

Dani's picture

Depending on the game I do

Depending on the game I do think it can change the world. Like the games they have on the internet for children that teaches them ABC'S and 1,2,3's. Now days the computer is the only way to hold alot of childrens attention. And it makes it some what easier to learn that way. Not saying you should not read to your child but you can carry the internet with you where ever you go and you may not always have the time to sit down and do different things with your child. I know this because I have a 4 year old and I try to read to her a hour out of each day but it does not always happen that way because i may have homework to do or she just may not want to sit there and listen to mommy. Thats where games come in. I know for a fact that the games will keep her attention, and its stuff thats going to help her learn.. But all games are not cool for children to play.

abenjamin's picture

I definitely agree. As with

I definitely agree. As with anything, there are some good games out there, and some not so great ones. A game is a great way to hold a child's attention. They're learning to focus and to work hard towards a goal. Playing these games can be a major learning experience. Players learn determination and dedication, and they practice problem-solving constantly. The subject of these games, however, can definitely be altered for the better...

mzhang's picture

life...,replying to Ashanta Owens reposted below

I am not good at technologies so that I have posted at a wrong place and I repost my response below with clicking the "reply" button. Thanks for scrolling down there!

MGuerrero's picture

To agree or disagree, that is the question.

I do think that games can help change the world. In a sense, it all just depends on how you look at it. Games in many ways help people to develop critical thinking and how to analyze situations. Yes, some games are violent, but we do live in a world where it is all about survival of the fittest. Not to say that we should have children learning how to shoot guns or anything, but the reality of the situation is that some kids are exposed to this violence regularly. I think we just need to reinforce the difference between a "game" and reality. The reason I feel this way about games, is that I think people often get too caught up in the hypothetical situations, and fail to acknowledge the reality of it. Like I mentioned in class, people are exposed to these things anyway, so why should we fight it? 

dephillips's picture

Separating Games and Reality

I games and reality do not have to be separate at all. There are many practical uses for games from teaching chemistry to learning how to tell stories. I think purely thinking about games as methods of entertainment in the sense of video games is very limiting. If you think of games as a tool then they can become a technology that you use in your reality.

I agree that people tend to get hung up on hypothetical situations and this usually leads to unrealistic fears like worrying that video games will make the world more violent or believing that games can completely separate you from reality and society. These fears are just not realistic and could use to be done away with. If the fears associated with gaming were dispelled, what are some ways that you think games could be used to change the world?  

alesnick's picture

Games and Choice

I teach Education 255, "Education, Technology, and Society," an education elective course at Bryn Mawr College.  I am very happy to be working with CCP on this project!  In class today, my students and I started discussing McGonigal's book/videos.  One idea that came forward is that learning is a choice.  Even though students are legally required to attend school until age 16, they can't be required to learn; some of that is their choice.  I have always been very interested in how schools and colleges can be set up to give students and teachers more choices, and I hope to learn something about this from exploring why people are so drawn to computer games.  I personally don't enjoy many games on or off line! I've always preferred to just talk with people.  I'm also not involved with playing or watching sports.  But I recognize and respect that many people are into games/gaming, and I want to learn from them.  From you!

Qadirah's picture

I feel that games are a fun

I feel that games are a fun thing to do when bored. Saying that games will change the world is kind of an extreme statement. Games can help develop the brain and motor skills but sitting in front of a computer screen or television for hours has no input or benefit to the world. Changing the world is not polluting or planting a tree. Playing a game only benefits you and wasting your time. When I play a game it’s because I am bored or might want to have fun. I never think about playing a game to change the world or help me be a better person. I feel as though all my morals and goals has come from my parent and experiences. I use those mistakes and what I was taught to be a better person and change the world. For example, a lot of my family members have medical complications like cancer, diabetes, kidney failure etc. Seeing people that I love die from this and get better made me want to help other people and their family. Another example, was a week before I was going to take my driving permit test I practiced everyday for hours with a parking game and when I got to take the parking part I thought I would pass the test with flying colors. I failed and had to come back, so playing that game I thought would help actually in reality didn’t help at all. Virtual and reality are just two separate things and McGorigal saying that 10,000 hours of gaming a week would benefit the world and stop poverty and world hunger, I just feel is ridiculous. How would sitting in front of a computer for 10,000 hours a week help change the world?

besanradwan's picture

I kind of agree with you, but

I kind of agree with you, but to an extent. I do not agree that thousands of hours in front of any game would help the world, but certainly some games are VERY good at helping students. Take for example a student who has a short attention span; s/he doesnt want to sit in the classroom all day and listen to a teacher "drone on". To them, that is the equivilant of sitting in front of a computer screen with no input. However, if the teacher makes the educational material into a game, the student is suddenly engaged and learns by a new method. We as students have to open our minds to the different means and methods of learning. It's not clear cut like we thought it was back in the day. Our minds are complicated and some of us can benefit from using educational games as a method of learning. However, I do agree with you that McGonigal takes it too far. The important thing to realize though is that fun and learning are not mutually exclusive. 

My question is do you think sites like this: prove McGonigals point that playing games DOES stop world hunger? What are your thoughts on this specific website?

asweeney's picture

McGonical thinks that gamers

McGonical thinks that gamers " are our most readily engageable citizens" (233) and that they are happier when the game they play is actually helping people in the world. On pages 234-235, she discusses this webstie you've She explains that the website is not only succesful because it promotes feeding those who are hungry in the world, but also because it has a classically good game design to keep people engaged. "Because the game gets easier when you make mistakes and harder when you answer correctly, it's easy to experience flow." My only concern with putting such fundraising tecniques into gaming format is that gamers---even if they are willing to engage actively with the real world and real world problems---will be dissatisfied with the real way the world works. Alieviating major sources of human pain like hunger or poverty might not bring a person feelings of "flow." If you make a mistake in the real world, your tasks in life do not become easier as they would in a game, but usually increase in difficulty. In order to meet the challenge of making our world a better place, we often need to be willing to meet challenges that are of a difficulty way beyond our experience. So, I wonder if the game FreeRice gives gamers a flawed percetion of what forms of effort it takes to create true social change? Thoughts? I could absolutely be wrong so feel free to disagree! 

Qadirah's picture

I absolutely agree with you

I absolutely agree with you that educational games or material could be very beneficial to students. I wouldn’t really call that a game though I think that’s just a learning method. But as a “gamer” playing things with war, witchcraft and guns and violence are not really beneficial. I don’t think that the game free rice proves McGonigals point that playing games does stop world hunger because there is still world hunger and poverty in many countries. Also, I thought after I played free rice how do I know for sure that rice is really being donated? Just like those commercials on t.v. with children looking sad, dirty, and hungry and they say call and donate 25 cents to feed the child. I think it’s a good website if legit but I don’t really understand why me getting vocabulary words right helps feeds people for free, why can’t the people on the website just be good people and give them food/rice for free anyway

dephillips's picture

Free Rice Gaming

I completely understand your hesitiations with the free rice website-and generally agree with you. If we want to solve world problems like world hunger why don't we just go out and physically do things to end it? I also wonder, though, if free rice can earn money from people testing their vocabulary knowledge by the advertisements they have on their webpage. This would be interesting to look into.

But going away from the free rice game, I think it is really limiting to think of games only as video games or things like kickball. I think the definition of games can be expanded to a place that could help create better and more efficient games that could really make a difference in the world and specifically in the world of education. if you really think about it almost everything is a game from cooking dinner to completeing homework. For the example of cooking, you have a specific goal of preparing a dish. In order to prepare the dish, you must follow a list of instructions and complete small tasks to eventually produce the final dish. Then after you are done you have the reward of eating the dish and interacting with others who are enjoying the same reward. Like a game, cooking has specific insturctions with small task leading to the eventual goal, a reward at the completion of the task, and the possibility to create a community surrounded by the task. This break down can also be applied to homework that has specific instructions, small tasks leading to the ultimate goal, and an eventual reward of a grade which could be thought of as points.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I agree with the statement

I agree with the statement that playing games can help change the world. Games can change the world in a positive, but also negative way. For example, many games require your focus, which can help you pay attention more and make good decisions. Though, some games can cause people to act more violent, which can cause problems. One personal experience that i have with a game is when I played a common family game called "Clue". This was very positive for me because it helped my memory skills, though when playing with others it sometimes created bad competitions. After reading this blog, my biggest curiosity is how long have they been collecting data on this particular topic of gaming? One question that I have is how come gamers and non-gamers have differences in their thought processes?

abenjamin's picture

I definitely agree that games

I definitely agree that games are changing the world, but not in a strictly positive or negative way. You make a great point about learning focus and decision-making skills. I would also add problem-solving, which is an incredibly valuable skill. While you make a point about violence as a result of competitive gaming, I'd like to look at social interactions more generally. I used to believe that more gaming meant a decrease in peer interactions. People would be sitting next to each other, not talking to each other, or looking at each other, or even really acknowledging each other. That person sitting next to you could then easily be replaced by a random, or even computer-generated, opponent. As I've been able to experience more gaming in a social setting, though, I've seen that it can be a social activity. Not necessarily the most social, but more than I had originally assumed. Players would comment on each other's actions within the game and participate in mutual banter, both of which would not be possible with an external opponent. I found out recently that gaming is becoming more popular on personal computers, and this is raising the same original concern. Is this new way of gaming social enough? Are players really interacting with each other?

Brandi's picture

I agree with your point on

I agree with your point on the social interactions and how that can cause problems. To answer your question about this new way of gaming being social enough, I would have to say it’s social but not as social enough compared to external interactions with an opponent. Though, in a sense, the players are interacting with each other because they are still communicating with each other when participating in their mutual banter.

dcenteio's picture

By "external interactions

By "external interactions with an opponent" what do you mean? I agree that gamming interactions do not need to be limited to a online or "IM" messaging. But many games and even video games have added components to them where you can talk as if on the telephone to your oponents. I do not think that these interactions should replace real life interactions but they are great additions in advancing technological communication. These people/gammers have the opportunity to engage in conversations while playing games that they really enjoy. This works great if they have no-one in their proximity that plays the game they do. Can you think of ways to communicate through games that may be similar to comunicating in person? 

Serendip Visitor's picture

I honestly believe playing a

I honestly believe playing a video game will not help change the world. I say that because when playing a video game you are not active. You're active with your eyes and fingers, but not with your full body. Playing a video game is not a form of changing the world. I know that's Jane McGonigal states in her video "Gaming make a better world". It's claimed that if people play videos games for 21 billion hours a week, that it will stop the cause of hunger, and obesity just to name a few. But my whole thing is this, how can you stop hunger if the people are on the game all day and night their going to be very much so hungry after a hard work in video playing. As for obesity, how can you lower that? If anything their going to be eating more because of the long hours of playing the game. So as for changing the world I don't think so what so ever. I feel this way because there are so much more things and activities that a person can be doing besides playing a video game. You can go for a walk, do homework, play basketball, flag-football, anything. I just think some video games are a waste of time. What I'm still curious about is what gives someone the idea of thinking a video game is going to change the world? If anything it makes people unsociable.

stanner's picture

Wii Fit and Free Rice

I've also been wondering about this.  It seems to me that in some cases games actually can solve problems, and in others it is the ideas, values, and motivations that make up game-playing that could save the world.  Obesity and hunger are really good examples of issues that are hard to fix through games only because they are both physical problems.  Sitting in front of a screen isn’t going to feed anyone in need, nor will it help anyone who needs to live a healthier, more active lifestyle do so. 

For the obesity problem, though, there are video games which are not only played by sitting in front of a screen.  Wii Fit, for example, is a great way for players to be more active, and have fun doing it because of the game-style setup of the exercise.  (see for the additional benefit of allowing children to be active indoors while parents are not available to supervise them outdoors).  As far as hunger, there is a game (which Besan also mentioned above) called FreeRice which is a quick trivia game which donates rice to those in need for every correct vocabulary question answered.  This game is productive in two ways: it allows anyone to help donate food to those in need, and helps user broaden their vocabularies and learn new things.  (This program is run by the United Nations World Food Programme. Here is their “about” page:  

So in answer to your question, I think it is games like Wii Fit and Free Rice which are based off of gaming ideas but accomplish more than just being entertaining that make people think that games can save the world.  We can use the ideas behind games that motivate people to play by making them feel empowered and desire to accomplish more by applying them to games that actually accomplish real things and solve real problems.  Maybe when Jane McGonigal talks about increasing the hours of playing games, she is talking about games like these instead of ones that don't really do anything for the physical world.

But now I have a question based on what you said at the end of this post: What does gaming do to social interactions?  Is there any way for games to take part in improving rather than causing a deterioration of real social interactions?

Lakeya's picture


What gaming does to social interactions in my opinion blocks it out. It gives people the right away to not know how to be social to people, to play their game boy all day and not even talk. I don’t think a game can improve any type of social interactions.

Julie Mazz's picture

Social Interactions

I had forgotten about Free Rice! I remember in high school, if we were working in the computer labs and had already finished with our work, the teachers would tell us to go on Free Rice. It was a great way to spend the rest of class and brush up on vocabulary. In fact, it would also be a helpful site for students getting ready for the SAT. 

I too, was at first confused about how gaming affects social interactions, because I always thought of gaming as anti-social, especially computer games. This changed after we had the youth panel come to class last week, and they talked about all of the social interactions they have from their online community. They showed us how you can log on to the games at the same time and play each other, or instant message their friends while gaming. I think this is a good argument for how the internet has actually increased social interactions, at least in terms of gaming. Previously, people would play games by themselves, unless they could get a friend to come over an play against them instead of against the machine. Now, with gaming systems or computer games that connect to the internet, they can play each other without having to go anywhere. Gaming provides another outlet for communication. 

Kyiera Ross's picture


No I don't think games can help change the world! I think that it's to much violence in some of the games. To many guns and that's not ok for the younger children. I feel this way because the parents shoudn't let their kids play these violent games.Parents should be aware of what their kids are playing at all times.I think kids should be more active outside instead of playing video games. It's a lack of education kids need to stay active. This is why i am against video games. I am still curious about how some people think video games can help change that world in some way.
My question to the people is would you rather have your child playing a video game 24/7 or doing something constructive and learning about getting an education than shooting people?

emmagulley's picture

Hi Kyiera,I think your point

Hi Kyiera,

I think your point about violence in video games is interesting and important to remember.  I remember hearing about a study that found that after users played a certain video game (Grand Theft Auto?) they actually experienced much higher levels of uneasiness, dissatisfaction, and aggression than before.  

As you suggest, even the physical act of playing a video game is less-than-healthy.  During our last class one of the things we talked about was a fear of kids being stagnant--exercising their thumbs and hands instead of their entire bodies.  I think that is definitely alarming and I'm sure it's part of what's contributing to the obesity epidemic in American children.

But I also think we need to consider the fact that "gaming"--even "video gaming" or electronic gaming--means different things to different people,and has the potential to grow and change in ways we can't imagine right now.  What about games like the Wii fit that encourage users to move?  Also, it is great to spend time outside, but not all kids have access to playgrounds or yards.  Of course, not everyone has access to video games either, but at least when a kid is playing a game in his/her living room, it might be more convenient for a parent to supervise them there.  

I'd also like to talk about the phrase, "It's a lack of education."  Is there really such a thing as a lack of education... anywhere?  Is "not learning" an act?  Part of this goes back to "what does it mean to learn?" "What is an education?"  "What is the purpose of an education?"  Playing a video game might not make you memorize facts about the War of 1812.  It might not even help you with your multiplication tables.  But I think "education" and "learning" go beyond the walls of a classroom--what about all that we've learned as human beings?  What about all of the things we've learned that no one actually taught us?  Playing even the most banal  video game can teach you tons of things--hand/eye coordination; fine motor control; memory; logic--and can connect you to players--and, thus, cultures--around the world.

So my direct answer to your concluding question is:  my knee-jerk reaction is to say, yes, I would rather have my little cousin run around outside than lay on the couch, eating and playing games.  But I want to question the notion of what it means to do "something constructive" because I would argue that every experience teaches us something, even at the most basic level.

My question for you is:  do you think that video games provide us with anything that is "good" and "productive"? Do video games only "waste time" or provide us with entertainment/distractions?  Can users learn anything from video games?  How or how not?

Kyiera Ross's picture

In some way I guess they do

In some way I guess they do provide us with anything that is good and productive. Only in some games though, like you suggested Wii or educational games. But not all kids are going to want to play an educational game. Probably only if their home and their parents are around. If they see their friends playing a game like “Grand Theft Auto” they’re going to want to play it. Some video games do waste time and is a distraction to some people and children. For example sitting in front of the TV playing the game all day is not helpful. Some users can learn some things from video games. Like I said before only if they’re like educational games and games that are not killing people.

emmagulley's picture

I think you bring up a

I think you bring up a goodpoint about social factors in gaming. We can have all of the "educational" games want, but as you said, kids might not want to truly play those games themselves. Social interactions and pressures at school influence the games kids are drawn to, our "want" to play. For example, as you say, "Grand Theft Auto" has a certain elusive "cool factor" which I imagine is potentially alarming for parents of, for example, preteen boys. 

I guess the question I have is: does learning only involve educational subjects? Or can you learn anything from anything? While it's true that certain video games won't teach us multiplication tables, we can learn about a lot of intangible things. For example, what about video games that have online forums and enable users to tastand make friends with people all across the world? They would learn how to interact with new cultures and more about how to interact with people online.  For example right now we're not doing a traditional academic subject right now, but we're probably all learning things (I e how to interact withstrangers online.)

Do you see what I'm saying? 

Magda Mustafa's picture


I dont think that playing games can help change the world. Because playing games especially video games are addicting to all man kind. It pushes you away from society ,communicating,exercises ,etc. There's always a time and limit for everything in life. Im not saying it's wrong or bad to play games but not too much of it. It's also unhealthy .Too much concentration to the computer screen or t.v screen can cause headaches , pain in the eye, dizziness ,etc. Playing these games also causes danger to the society and to the people. So many people playing these games believe that what they do in the game can be done in real life. For example ,suicides ,killings ,etc. I did agree with Jane McGonigal when she had said that the gamers feel stronger ,more powerful ,and aslo can collaborate in solving problems when playing the game. Because when they win they feel like they have accomplished something but not in the real world. My point is the more they play the more they play the more they get addicted to playing. They need to stop living the virtual game world and start living and working on the moral world.

Serendip Visitor's picture


I think that playing games can not help change the world because what does sitting in front of a computer or television screen have to do with real life issues such as war, violence, and racism? I watched a video with a woman named Jane McGonigal and she mentioned how in a game, when a person fail it's easier for them to try again on the game opposed to someone failing in reality. I disagreed with her because not all people give up in the real world when they fail and when people fail on a game, they often quit (well I do anyway). I do not like playing games because it is really time consuming and it gets boring after a while. I have a brother who is a game freak and nothing that the research allegedly proves are any characteristics of my brother, I actually think that he's not interested in anything but playing games and he gets really angry when he lose. There is no game that can change the world in my opinion. I feel as though if somebody wants to change the world, they have to actually get up and get out in order to see some result. So, to sum everything up, I think that playing games are a waste if time and have no positive affect on the world at all.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I agree one hundred percent.

I agree one hundred percent. Games are a waste of time. If someone wants to change the world they actually do have to get out and do something .Participating in a Community Organization for example or donations .Something that can make themselves and the world useful .

Julie Mazz's picture

Failing in Gaming and Reality

I think what you said about failing in a game and then trying again is really interesting. It's completely true that in a game you can get another life, or just try again, but is that always teaching you the right thing? In some cases it does, by teaching you that even if you do something wrong, you can work harder to understand the problem and fix it. But in many other cases, you don't always get that second chance. I row, and my high school coach would often emphasize that in rowing, you usually don't get a second chance, so you should put all of your effort towards doing your best the first time. In rowing, particularly, you usually only face another team once a season, and the difference between winning and losing can be .01 of a second. Instead of knowing that you can try harder the next time, you should put your mind to doing your absolute best first. 

Naddiyyah Cameron's picture


I don't think playing games will help change the world and then again I do. I say no because it is a lot of voilent games out here and kids sit around an play them games for hours. Then they go out in the streets or go play with their friends and do what they seen in the game. I say yes because there are positive games out here that will keep your brain thinking and working, such as, suduko. I feel this way because i seen on law and order the tv show when kids was playing a voilent video gaming, and they want out on the street and react the game and killed a girl.

Have you ever witness something when a person went out on the streets and react a voilent game.

Serendip Visitor's picture


If kids play video games that are incredibly violent they will think that the violence is ok. They think that sense its ok to play video games with guns and other things that its ok to do it on the street. Now on the other hand when kids play games that are positive their going to think positive and do positive things. It will change the world for the better. One of the most important life lessons that I learned was do what you are told and not what you see. I learned it from my parents. Yes I can imagine this lesson being understood through the constructs of a creative game?

Do you think that the kids that are growing up now learning more from positive games or violent games?

asweeney's picture

Good question. No, I have

Good question. No, I have never witnessed such a re-enactment of a video game. Kids do, however, learn how to act in society based on the models given to them by adults. So your comment if really interesting. If our kids play video games that are incredibly violent, will they in turn think that this violence is ok? Conversly, thinking about this in terms of education and classrooms, what do you think might happen if we had kids playing games that worked on problem solving, critical thinking, and non-violent conflict resolution? Might they start to re-enact these games? And then really change the world for the better? I know it seems absurd for many on this blog to think that video games could change the world. I am starting to realize, however, that many of the goals of video games (such as posing difficult challenges that are voluntarly embraced in an engaged manner) would be wonderful goals for the participants in our society.

my question to anyone is: What is one of the most important life lessons you learned as a child? Did you learn this from an engaging game-like scenario (virtual or reality), sitting in a desk, or in a different scenario? Can you imagine this same important lesson being understood through the constructs of a creative game?

yolanda's picture

I feel that games cannot

I feel that games cannot change the world. Instead I feel that some games are too violent. It enhances ideals in young minds to do things that they normally would not have seen until they played a certain game. Don't get me wrong not ALL games are violent but too many kids are overweight due to playing games. Most kids don't have social skills; they don't know how to interact with others very well. I know there’s all types of games that are beneficially and those are the type of games that should be promoted.
If you had children would you allow your kids to play these games and why?

mfarbo's picture

Re: I feel that games cannot

You make some really great points. I also agree that video games are violent and can potentially send kids the wrong message and expose them to dangers/situations they wouldn't typically be exposed to. I agree that there are some games out there that are good. Games such as math games or games that teach kids values and morals but typically, kids aren't playing these types of games. They are usually playing killing and war games. I feel strongly about children developing social skills and I feel that games (and technology in general) has hindered social interation. We have discussed this topic in class and have come to the realization that perhaps the definition of socialization is changing. Maybe texting, talking online, and gaming are becoming the "new" ways of socializing. To answer your question, if I had kids, I would strongly encourage them to play "good" games--games that help them learn as opposed to video games that don't require high mental capacity. I would provide my kids with many resources to find the good games and wouldn't buy the bad games but if they happened to find them on their own/buy them with their own money, I wouldn't stop them. Regardless of what game they play, I would set a time limit on how long they could play. I believe that playing outside is very vital in a child's development so I wouldn't allow them to sit in front of a screen hours at a time. 
What would you do if you had kids?

To share a personal story about gaming, I remember playing the game "Madeline" when I was younger. From what I can remember, I learned a lot. Of course there were fun games like coloring but I also think that there were math games, reading games, and even geography facts. So this is one positive aspect of gaming/a beneficial example from my personal life. 

Do you recall any games from your childhood? Do you think they were beneficial? 

Serendip Visitor's picture

Hi mfarbo, I do have kids

Hi mfarbo,
I do have kids that play video, handheld and online games. When they were little they also had a time limit. I didn’t allow them to play violent games but has my son got older he started to buy them and like you I didn’t stop him, but he did have limits. They were more into playing physical games, like, basketball and baseball. Besides playing sports I really wasn’t into board games, pinball machines or video games. I’m more physical, that’s why I encouraged my kids to play outside. The beneficial of outdoor games is you’re physically in shape. There are so many obese children due to indoor gaming.

mfarbo's picture

Re: your kids gaming

I think that's very wise that you set a time limit! That's what my parents did when I was younger and I agree that playing sports is a VERY important part of growing up. Sadly, obesity is due largely in part to gaming. 

Julie Mazz's picture


I think Jeopardy is a very beneficial game, and I'm sure many people played some form of it growing up in school. It was definitely a favorite of all my science teachers to get us ready for tests in a fun and social way. By splitting us up in to teams and showing off our combined knowledge, we would prepare for tests while bonding with our classmates. At home, my family watches Jeopardy every weeknight, and while my sister and I hated it when we were younger and didn't understand the questions, I now absolutely love beating my mom to an answer (she's a journalist who should really tryout for the show, and I probably get my competitiveness from her...). I wouldn't say I really retain any new knowledge from the show though, because the questions often go too fast for me to absorb new information, but it's a good way to reinforce exsisting knowledge and gain confidence. 

mfarbo's picture

Re: Jeopardy!

I agree that Jeopardy is very beneficial! It's fun yet you're still learning. I often watch Jeopardy with my roommate if we aren't too busy. When I was younger, my teachers also made jeopardy games and that was a fun way to review the material. 

iyisha gill's picture

playing games

Do I think that playing games can help change the world? I actually think It cannot help change the world. I think gaming isnt really that important it's something to do on your free time. A game that I like to play is called bubble shoot. I dont think bubble shoot would change the world but it keeps me from going into boredom. Im curious about what makes gamers so into games the way they are? What game keeps you from going into boredom?

Mark Squilla's picture

The game bubble shoot will

The game bubble shoot will not be able to change the world, but other complex games could be made to enhance the way people think. I believe in the future that gamers and scientists can come together to create games that could help the lives of others. If you like a game you are likely to get addicted to playing it. It could be as simple as bubble shoot. I like to play sports games or games that you have to complete missions.

dcenteio's picture

I can totally get why you

I can totally get why you consider gamming as something to do with your spare time. Gamming can be used as a distraction from everyday life responsibilities and as also a coping strategy with boredom. But I kind of disagree that games cannot help change the world. I think we have the ability to create games that can have great impacts in the world.

Many have made the point that games, especially violent games, lead young kids and teenagers to mimic violent behaviors and although this is not completely false I have seen gaming that do the absolute opposite. I have seen young boys and teenagers use gamming as avoidance of the "street life". Instead of being out on the street and engaging in not so legal activities I know of boys who decide to stay in their home instead and choose video games as their hobbies. I also think that gamming has the ability to strengthen critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills.

Gaming can do much good if we as people utilize them correctly. We can only get out of them what we put into them.

One of my favorite app games is unblock me, which is sort of like a critical thinking puzzle game and it’s really fun to play! Can you think of any other games that can potentially increase critical thinking or problem solving skills?

SittiZulaiha Tyson's picture

Video games are not that

Video games are not that important me, and I do not think that video games can change the world. One reason why I feel that video games cant change the world for example; I once was reading a story were a mother, neglected her child because she was so addicted to a video game. This is one reason why I don't think that video games can change the world. I feel this way because there is no reason why you should neglect you child for a game. this is why i don't feel for video games. One thing that I'm still curious about is why would others think that a game can change the world? Do you feel that games are so important, that you should neglect the one you love for a video game?

jwang's picture


Hi, I agree that we should never neglect the ones we love for a video game but I think games can change the world. Everything on this world has two sides. A wonderful tool can harm people if it is used in the wrong way and a not-so-good tool may benefit us if it is used correctly. I think the most important thing is not what we are using but how we are using it. The mother addicted to a video game shows the wrong way to use video games. But there are also many people who love to play video games and benefit from video games. The way video games change the world may not be a sudden change, but I do believe if it is used in a good way it would make the world a better place. 

Serendip Visitor's picture

I disagree, but everybody

I disagree, but everybody have their ways of looking at things different..

Shakia Dawkins's picture


I do not think that playing games can help change the world. Some folks play games because they are bored. I feel the way i feel about gaming or games because i think that most of them are boring, and I feel frustrated that we are even talking about it. Most people who play games probably don't even have it in their mind that playing games can change the world, they just play it because its something to do. There is nothing in my mind about games or playing games that i am curious about. What topic other than games is more relevant about changing the world?

hweinstein's picture

changing the world

This is something I have been thinking a lot about.  It does seem that games are trapped in a virtual world, so how can they possibly change anything out here?  If people are so wrapped up in their second lives, how will they ever engage in their first?  In the book, she talks about how games make the player feel good by giving clear objectives, steps, and rewards.  These motivators are the reasons, she says, that gamers will devote so much time and effort into the games they play.  These things that games give us, however, we can give ourselves.  If I were to take the time, I could lay out objectives, steps and rewards for anything I do in my life.  Maybe McGonigal has shown us the ultimate key to productivity.  If we learn how to motivate ourselves (in school?) the way that game programmers already hove figured out how to motivate us, maybe we can change the world!  I think that so many people have the capacity to make real change, but are too emotionally daunted by the task.  I think they (perhaps myself included) lack the motivation tools that video games have.  Why do you think people don't harness their own capacities to change the world?

Philla Lam's picture


I think playing games does not help change the world. Playing games is just a waste of time. It doesn't benefit anything. Why waste time and play games when you can do something productive with your life? Now and days games are more violent and useless. They are violent because they created shooting and fighting games. They are useless because what are we getting from playing games? I feel this way because playing games aren't world changing . I'm just curious how do people spend all day and everyday playing games?

maddybeckmann's picture

Gaming in Educ.

Hello! I understand where you are coming from in thinking that gaming will not change the world.  My brother used to be an avid gamer. I always wonder how he could sit for hours and play games either on the computer or on the Xbox. At some point it has to get a little excessive... However, I think that with the appropriate games that promote learning or problem solving, we could use gaming as an enhancer of education outside the classroom and thus create a generation of critical thinkers. In games that allow young people to think critically and extend their minds, I think we could use gaming as a tool for success. With games such as Roller Coaster Tycoon or Sim Park, the gamer is challenged to find new ways to gain revenue and to build a successful community. These are just a few examples of basic games that challenge our minds. I am sure there are more out there that we could use to enhance the learning of many people.  As for the violence in gaming, I agree that this is not a positive side of gaming. I am not sure what we could do to eliminate this, due to its’ popularity. Do you have any ideas?

Also, you seem to have a strong opinion about gaming, but have you ever played a game that you enjoyed?  Do you think there can be a positive side of gaming? 

Philla Lam's picture


From reading your respond and doing a little of research, I do believe that there can be a positive side of gaming. Yes I do actually agree with everything your saying. Gaming can actually teach us something. My brother also plays games on computers, play stations, etc. Children can actually learn from playing the right kind of games. Yes I’ve played games before but not all day long or hours and hours. I don’t think there is any way of eliminating violent games. Only way we can avoid violent games are too not let our children, nieces, nephews, or cousins play them. It is 2012 and they will keep on making violent games.

maddybeckmann's picture

Hi again,  I am intrigued by

Hi again, 

I am intrigued by your thought that we cannot fully eliminate the violent video games. I did a little looking online and saw that California attempted to ban violent video games for people under 18. This went to the Supreme Court and the ban was decided to be unconstitutional. You can read the article here: (  or here: (   The supreme court judges ruled California's ban as unconstitutional on the grounds of our first amendment right of free speech. The New York Times article states, "'Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas'". But should we let these violent ideas be communicated? Can we stop them from being communicated to children in a way that does not disobey the first amendment? What are your thoughts? Should this issue be a parental issue or one decided at the government level? 

Serendip Visitor fulani freeman's picture

yes, I have played a game

yes, I have played a game before and most of the game i play i enjoy period. there can be a positive side of gaming when it comes to most games. there games out there that are inspirational and educational but a lot of these games are kid games or games that others not might not find very fun. little do they know it could make a big difference in their life because your learning something playing a game.

fulani freeman's picture

I think that playing games

I think that playing games would change the world, but not for anything good. The reason I believe this is because if people are all doing the same thing there will be a grave conflict, meaning if people don't get their way or even get jealous they will hurt someone else because they know that the other person has the same thing. I feel this way because if you see the way people act when a new game come out, they go crazy like animals. So if there's a person that's not playing that game or don't have that game most likely they'll do anything to get it. I'm still curious about what makes a person get that drive to just sit around all day playing one damn video game.

stanner's picture


I agree with you that violence is a big concern.  There are many horror stories of children trying to reenact their gaming in real life and harming others. I don't think the way that people behave when new games come out is that different when new phones come out, but I'm not such a gamer so maybe more goes on than what I know about.  But there is definitely a lot of violence in many popular video games, and we know that this extreme exposure to violence, albeit virtual violence, generally isn’t good for people.

But what about non-violent games?  Do you think that those could change the world for the good?

Ashanta Owens's picture

Do I think playing games can

Do I think playing games can change the world? Yes. Yes I do think playing games can help change the world but its really about what game you play and how will this game effect the world as well as the player. Many games thats being created are more so on the violent side such as Grand theft auto, and saw and the land of the dead. These examples can change the world in a very negative way. All three of these games change the world in a VERY negative way. These games show you how to kill, take, and rob which all are things you can do in reality! Showing others how to come up with money in a way that has nothing to do with taxes. You then have the games that can change the world in a VERY positive way like family fued, sean it, or jepordy. These are games that are both family/friend oriented and brain exercising. Not to many people own any positive games because the 21st century is based on negativity. If you notice its more of the younger children and older teens that have these game systems, thats mainly who has these violent games. Many older people,such as parents or grand parents have the positive game. I feel this way because it's very ovious that the crime and hate thats taking place in the world right now is becaue of poor games. Kids do EXACTLY what they see and what do you think is going to happen if a parent allows a child to play a bad game? Well you dont have to answer that question becaue its already in our face. These poor games are already taking effect. Now,my professor linked me to a video on youtube of a woman named McGonigal, and she made a comment. The comment was something like she thinks people should start to play games MORE for about 10,000 hours a WEEK. 10,000 hours a WEEK is something that I seriously dissagree with. I dissagree with this statement because thats just going to make the world worse adding 10,000 hours of Grand Theft Auto every week. Thats more time on a game than in a homework book. Thats simply not right and I would like to know why. I would like to know what would happen if these games suddenly got taken off the market? What would these teens do? How would they cope if they do nothing but play a game? Going from one thing to anoher is very hard if your set on something thats a daily prosper of your life. So once again, what would happen if these games suddenly got taken off the market, and how would these kids cope?

mzhang's picture

life with and without games

It is very interesting to question about the life after abandoning all the games and to suggest what the kids would react. But how about we start from recalling the life before all of those games flourishing into our lives?It might be difficult to grab the sense of that picture since we have already gotten used to the life with overwhelming online gaming commercials and game-related terms and phenomenon every corner in the world. But I suggest that the changes that games brought to our life did not function that severe nor far-reaching. Games cannot change the world, though it can help change the world, to some extent. Everything has two sides and it is also true with games. If we, tried hard, to reminiscence the routine of the world before games take over a part of it, will notice that we may have more cosplay shows, added game entertaining commodities area in the stores, and plenty of online gaming commercials everywhere after this new by-product of the progress of technology. I agree that you were worrying about the negative illusions that violent and bloody games might bring to the youth but it will also be radical and impetuous to be in a rush getting rid of them all. Games are never new products or recent inventions of human beings. Games exist almost at the same time mankind started to live together as a community. Games, per se, are only one form of interactions and communications among the crowd. Games are meant to be played due to their nature, which is a time-consuming entertainment. People play the games, no matter the games were in vintage physical styles or in a fashionable online way, out of their desires of relaxing themselves from the secular world, in which they might have duties, obligations and unhappiness. What’s more, for what we should erase the existence of the games? We need to specify our purposes to have a second step. Would that be protecting the kids from negative illusions and bad life instructions? Games, together with their designs, theme descriptions, and character sett-ups, are just one product open for consumption. The proportion of games with violent or benevolent themes is, actually, decided by the demand of the market. I will not agree to blame the tendency, if there was one, of violence and evil thoughts to the games, per se. I insist that we have to consider the social backgrounds which nourished the market asking for more violent games at the first place. On the other hand, of course, those games’ negative influences on populace will definitely reflect back on the society. To break an angle in observing this circular phenomenon, we need to balance the status of education, which have influential effects on social ideology and games’ morality at the same time. So what will the kids react if the games were taken off the market? They might be disappointed for a while and continue their life with alternative entertainments. But the balance between flourishing the popular games under the capitalistic nature and establishing appropriate education for independent thinking individual should be the focus. Then what do you see the role of education play in the gaming culture or do you find education and games intertwined with each other?

Serendip Visitor's picture

The games has already

The games has already flourished into our lives. Many teens and young kinds are more likely to do what they see other than have a one tracked mind and be a leader. Taking away negative games and leaving nothing but posistive games is a VERY smart thing to do but the young ones wouldt think so. You said "I suggest that the changes that games brought to our life did not function that severe nor far-reaching" but,take a look at the world today...whats around us? Kliing,poverty,defient teens,drugs,guns, etc... Take a look at a very popular game,whats in it? killing,poverty,defientness.drugs,guns, etc...Sure f you take a popular game off the market such as a killing game the child will be upset for a bit but, then whats next? The act of trying it in REAL life. Maybe their mind may wonder. You never know the history of a child,or even adult...what if whats going on in the game took place and happened to them in real life? What if a family member died the exact same way someone did in the game? Then what... What if the player has a flash back not knowing that was a part of the game... What if he player has a disorder and actually do what they see,not able to fully controll themselves. What is, just what if? I understand where your coming from, with the statement you made. Saying "the balance between flourishing the popular games under the capitalistic nature and establishing appropriate education for independent thinking individual should be the focus" but also i most certianly will say its not 100% the childs fault because its parent out there who allows the child to p;ay the game, knowing that game should not even be allowed in the house hold. Many parent Fail to realise the effect games have on children,just like a positive game thats supposed to work on your ABC'S, or counting,or even your vocabulary...a nagative game does the SAME exact thing..It does the opposite of the positive games and create eruption. Nothing will ever bring these games off the market just because of the playing rate. Just because of the stocks of how many people buy. Just because the simple fact of money. thats what makes the world go round right? Money, Power, and Respect...MONEY from the kids buying the games. POWER from the ability to sell the games. and RESPECT from the money and the power of doing all three! So,now that we are in the 21st century,and we all getting older not younger,what do you think the ratio of games to voilence would be by the year of 2020?

ecatanese's picture

Games and Storytelling

I teach 098/099, a reading and composition course at the Community College of Philadelphia, and my students and I have begun to explore the problems and potentials inherent in games. In the last class, many students argued that violence in games and the sedentary lifestyle that games can promote outweighs potential for world change. While some argued that the "optimism" and "surprise" that McGonigal finds in games could help promote problem-solving, many argued that games create more problems than benefits. I'm excited for students to post their evolving thoughts. My early experience with (now somewhat primitive) video games got me interested in storytelling. For example, my favorite video game, THE CASTLE OF ILLUSION, was for me about being able to be with a character as a story unfolded. My motivation for overcoming obstacles was to get to the next level, not for its own sake, but for the narrative that the game would put up on the screen for me to read when I got there. I had a sense that I was a part of what happened next which seems, to me, to be a core aspect of learning that one does have power over world change. The games also helped me to develop visual thinking skills. Still, I was playing mostly nonviolent games and was living in a home environment without physical violence. I am wondering if there is a relationship between the actual reality (daily life) in an early childhood home environment and the virtual reality (electronic games) that might be played in that environment. I'm also interested in whether the tactile quality of board games and sports games create a different result in terms of the psyche of the player. I'm excited to hear the thoughts of others.

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