Painted Dog Games

Posted: October 15, 2011 in Deep Thoughts
Tags: , ,

Watch the video first. Seriously. Just watch it and be amazed.

Whew. Much as I love reading and talking about what I’m reading (especially since at the moment I’m pretty much monologuing to myself) I think it’s time for a quick break in my regular semi-scheduled posts. Now seems like a good time to detail what I mean when I say I’m blogging about video games and human potential. In a nutshell, video games make us better.

I don’t mean in the future that theoretical games may improve us. Right here, right now, video games are keying into human potential and making us better. This is not as revolutionary a thing to say as it would have been ten or even five years ago. I am picking at the edges of a path that has already been forged. If you want to read from the true pioneering giants in the field pick up something from Dr. James Paul Gee or Dr. Jane McGonigal.  Or just wait until I get around to talking about their books. (I feel like I’m hosting an episode of Reading Rainbow.)

The past era was defined by the technology of television. It revolutionized culture by allowing groups in differing geographies and economic strata to share cultural touchstones (eg; the moon landing, the Kennedy assassination, Sesame Street). The next era will be defined not by the internet, but by video games.

When our parents thought we were just playing with the newest and noisiest toys, video games were teaching us about problem solving, facing obstacles, recovering from failure, and playing with others. We took the lessons and expectations we learned from games and brought them into the internet.

So how do video games tie back into a trio of Dorobo tribesmen who must have balls so big that they cart them around in wheelbarrows? There is some basis for comparison. There’s creative problem solving, mentoring, a sense of heroism, and just a little griefing. This is the kind of thing humans spent millennial doing and on a deep level we still crave it. Even if the realm of digital entertainment offers only a pale shade of what the Dorobo do for the grocery run, it’s still better than nothing.

One of the things that is integral to understanding the difference between gamers and non-gamers is cheating. Not the intention of defrauding someone, but rather bending the system a bit. Both inside and outside of the game world, we love hacks. Stealing water buffalo from some hungry lions, the ubermench sleep cycle, cheat codes, and thousands of iTunes apps all come from the same mental space: the desire to do something in a better, more efficient, more awesome way.

And why Painted Dog? Well, I like them.

London Zoo: Painted Dog - African hunting dog

"Yeaaaahhh, I'm awesome."

Agree or disagree? As always, reader comments (when y’all get here) are welcome.

  1. TimmyMac says:

    Its’s late and I shouldn’t be typing right now, so I’ll keep this brief. In grad school I read an article on the ethics of “cheating” in video games, and the different ways people view it. It was a fascinating article, and I’ll try to find a copy of it for you sometime.

    Also, those guys in the video are amazing.

    • LX says:

      I look forward to reading it. And yeah, every time I watch that video I hold my breath. Like somehow the outcome will change on the 999th time I watch it. People are amazing creatures.

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