Games aren’t a waste of time. Don’t let their fun facade fool you: they’re changing us, enabling to defeat with complex problems and navigate strange spaces. They’re improving and educating the people who play them, transmitting radical political ideas, hard-wiring untested neural connections. In Japan games are being sold as anti-ageing devices, while in Europe and America scientists are just beginning to realise that games can be used as training simulators that have no precedent in human history. Videogames are going to be used by teachers to make the next generation of schoolchildren pay more attention in class and get smarter faster. They’re already creating a generation whose visual skills and information-processing talents far exceed those of their parents. The military want gamers to pilot their helicopters and fighter jets, but for many gamers their encounter with games has led in entirely different directions. We’re becoming skilled surgeons who learn with gamepads, we’re becoming motivated politicians who fight inequality with digital worlds, and we’re becoming human computers – nodes in a future of brain-powered processing we could barely have imagined just a few years ago.
Gamers will save the world, and that process is only getting started. Don’t believe us? Read on.
[This article first appeared last year in issue 172 of PC Gamer UK magazine.]