Have I mentioned the Rumors of War Relaunch Project FUNDED?
See for yourself!

I feel like if I’m not blogging about game design, I’m doing something wrong.

Even if this is only the sort of thing that appeals to game designers, it’s something I think everyone should know about, or take some interest in — I’m sure the “good science” is still a few decades in coming, but I’m pretty sure it will support the idea that gaming is a form of human programming.

If you’ve played an “edutainment” game, then you’ve seen the capabilities of gaming in its most primitive form. I tried games that were supposed to teach typing. They all sucked. I didn’t learn anything from them. I learned some much more important things from games. I learned self-discipline and morality.

I have taken a lot of flak over the years for spending too much time playing a game. I like to play for hours at a time. There was one time when I played the Sims 2 for two days. Do you know what else I have done for two days? Nothing.

Lots of people look at that behavior and think it’s unhealthy. And they’re right. In fact, I would agree with them so long as we were talking about anyone other than me. Because going on a gaming “binge” like that is what taught me that if I worked hard enough, and long enough on something, I could get better at it.

I’m not very “good” at games. I’ve met plenty of gamers who are “better.” I don’t know if its an intuitive grasp of gaming systems, superior hand-eye coordination, or more experience. I’m pretty okay though — let’s say “above average.” It might even be that fact which compels me to study games — to get better.

But here’s what I’ve noticed. Games — even the bad ones — teach you how to play them. A game creates a microcosm in which the player projects their skills and tests themselves. Every game teaches every person something different.

Some of those things people learn from games are the same — first-person shooters can apparently train people to aim better, teaching them to look to and point at things faster. Given another ten years or so, rhythm games might actually be able to teach people how to dance or play instruments.

Dungeons & Dragons taught me how to manage and prioritize tasks, and how to work with a group. These are things I’m still not very good at, but I never would have known my failings without an arena in which to safely fail at them.

Of course I’m sure games can also be used to teach people how to do terrible or useless things, but I mentioned before that every game teaches every person something different — I have a feeling that people who take away awful things from games probably brought a lot of that awfulness with them.