I’ve been sadly neglectful of this blog! In the last few weeks, particularly, because I have been fighting off some sort of nasty flu thing… still have a lingering cough, in fact, and it’s been more than two weeks!
So that meant that while I was flat out in bed, I missed the official announcement about the talk I am giving at GDC China this weekend. It’s been years since I was in Shanghai, so I am looking forward to this!
As far as what the talk is about… well, it’s sort of an extension of the lines of thought from the Project Horseshoe talk Influences and the GDC Online talk It’s All Games Now, and even a little bit from the Theory of Fun 10 Years Later talk. Basically, it’s about the patterns of thinking that games tend to encourage… and how these ways of thinking may be affecting us culturally. After all, if games do their work in large part via neuroplasticity, then that means that the cognitive habits we are picking up as gamers must be having an impact on how we think about, well, everything.
What might those cognitive habits be? And what impact might that have?
It’s a keynote, and supposed to be “inspirational,” so it’s in a lot of ways a rather light treatment of the subject… but I think there’s a lot to dig into there, and not all of it is unalloyed good… instead, it will be a picture of trade-offs. For example, just recently I read an article on how the neural pathways for empathy and the neural pathways of logical thinking seem to be mutually exclusive; you can’t do both at the same time. You have to emotionally detach yourself to be able to do true systems analysis, but if you are conditioned to approach the world analytically, does this mean that you are conditioned to avoid empathy? Pure speculation, and of course the answer will not be clear-cut.
Anyway, here’s the details on the talk:
How Games Think10:20-11:20 Sunday Nov. 18th
Raph Koster (Playdom/Disney Interactive)Games change us. They change our brains, they change how we think.
We live in a world where we have always been shaped culturally by literature, history, myth, art, and music. But now games are a dominant new medium. They bring with them ways of thinking. And that means that we, as humans, will literally think differently. We will see the world through the lens of games, and we will change the world using the tools of games.
It cuts both ways, because not all of the ways that games teach us to think are better — they are just different. And as a result, the world is changing in radical new ways.
In this talk, come learn how games think, and what that means for how we think, and what it means for our future.