Welcome, feel free to leave comments or e-mail me if you have any questions.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Benefits Of Gaming: They’re Bigger Than You Think

I’m sure many of us have heard or read about how playing video games can have added benefits such as developing basic motor skills and cognitive functions, increased problem solving capabilities, staying in shape, even livening up a party with interactive music and dancing. But how else can video games help benefit people from all walks of life, even those who don’t necessarily play games themselves? 

 “What does fun have to do with this serious stuff?”

That was the question posed by Janot Mendler De Suarez, one of the thirteen innovative minds who spoke at the second annual IDEAS Boston 2012 conference that was held at the University of Massachusetts.  Mendler de Suarez’s answer to the self-imposed question related to an issue that I’m sure many people passively know about but that not many actively think about: climate change. Global warming has caused major imbalances within the earth’s climate over the past few years which in turn adversely affects people in over 60 countries according to Mendler de Suarez.

Mendler de Suarez highlighted specific examples such as severe droughts in Kenya, sometimes going for months at a time without a single drop of rain, that make planting and harvesting crops almost impossible. So how could video games possibly help to curtail issues like droughts in Kenya? How about presenting the issue in a manner that people can not only relate to but engage with? namely: turning it into a game.

“In the drier parts of the country, crops are failing due to changes in the rain season.” Mendler de Suarez explains. By working with local farmers within the region, Mendler de Suarez and her team were able to develop a game that teaches farmers how to combat drought by adjusting their planting strategies. The game benefited players by not only helping them solve their environmental problems but also by allowing them to experiment and tinker without the risk of real-world consequences.

“The challenge to win helps us to perceive as fun what actually enables us to focus more intently, learn faster, and retain what we learn,” Mendler de Suarez explains. By taking issues as broad and complex as climate change and turning them into a fun and relatable medium such as video games, she hopes to not only bring  more awareness to these issues but also to actively work towards fixing them.

Mendler de Suarez equated the success of her game to more than just the dedication of her team (though I’m sure that was a big help), saying that: “games for a new climate tap into, stimulate, and exercise our most primal adaptive wiring.” It’s basic human nature to want to solve problems we are presented with and now, thanks to games such as the one developed by Mendler de Suarez and her team, solving issues like climate change can be more than just a priority; they can be fun too.

Follow me on Twitter at @NateHohl and check out my other work at vgutopia.com and rantgaming.com


  1. It's really an amazing article. It is always nice when you read
    some thing that is informative & interesting. Excellent work.
    Keep it up!

    Delta Force Game

  2. It's really an amazing article. It is always nice when you read
    some thing that is informative & interesting. Excellent work.
    Keep it up!

    Download Free Games

  3. Thanks for throwing light on the positive side of video games. Most of the people are not in favor in favor of video games but this article will definitely force them to think again.
    video for kids