Video Games As A Force For Good
As video games become more and more popular, people are finding different and unique applications for them. Because of their competitive nature and highly entertaining nature, video games can highly motivate people. Gamers are willing to throw themselves at a problem over and over and often find creative solutions to difficult challenges. Here are some ways video games can, and are, being used to make the world a better place.
Video Gamers Helping Science
Back in 2011, scientists were stumped trying to unravel a specific protein found in an AIDS virus found in monkeys. For nearly a decade, scientists worked on this project part of AIDS research but kept running into a wall.
During this time, a game called Foldit was created that is based on solving complex puzzles based on proteins. Eventually, the scientists uploaded the model of the AIDS protein to the game and just a little over a week, a group of gamers had solved it.
They were able to find the solution because of their creative problem solving and flexible view of the game. The scientists were able to tap into the strengths of gamers to do something incredibly important in the world. Since then, more scientific fields have tapped into crowdsourcing to gamers.
There are even sites like Zooniverse that are dedicated to games where people can help solve and discover new things in the scientific realms. They include things like mapping out the galaxy and finding new planets, track the behaviors of endangered animals, or analyzing weather patterns to identify potentially dangerous storms.
Making Better Maps
Maps are powerful tools that we in this modern age can enjoy easily, but we have a constant need to update maps. New businesses and homes are put up every day, and new roads built on a normal basis. Gamers are helping map the world better, especially when it comes to helping farmers.
Cropland Capture has players mapping the planet to identify potential cropland. Other games could be created dedicated to updating maps or finding patterns in data and apply them to map. Things like mapping crime data and finding patterns could help lower and prevent crime. Having these types of resources can be a major help for other things like mapping how diseases spread or the migration patterns of animals.
A Great Tool For Social Work
New technologies are constantly helping social worker become more effective, and video games are no different. Many people play video games as a way to relax, and can be used by social workers to connect with people they are working with. It opens up people as a tool for communication and can be used to help workers make meaningful connections.
Additionally, games can give people a way to express their feelings and give them a feeling of control in their lives. Social workers can ask people how they play certain games and play with them to get a good feeling about how their home life is.
Increasing Awareness of Social Issues
Just as other media formats, video games are a platform for educating people about social issues, but with the possibility of being more effective. Other mediums, like books and film, have people in a passive role, while with video games, they are active. It helps immerse them in the message rather than simply watching it from afar.
Many games in the world are attempting to educate and change the world because of this. There are games that try to teach people what it’s like to live with a mental illness or in a specific situation. Others try to express the severity of other issues, like global warming or the impacts of war. While these type of games are still very much only beginning to gain popularity, it can become a highly effective method.
As games continue to become more popular and lose their negative stigmas, the potential for good will only grow. How do you think games could help make the world a better place? Let us know in the comments below!