Better than Nothing – Cognitive surplus and gaming

We’ve got time. So much free time. For the last fifty years, we’ve spent it watching sit-coms, but not we’ve started to do something else. We’re making Wikipedia and Lolcats. And we’re playing Warcraft.

You should read this article, the main thrust of which is that we are starting to figure out what to do with the vast amount of free time we as a society have, and that the people who craft the future will be the ones who do just that. The issue of gaming comes up briefly:

“In this same conversation with the TV producer I was talking about World of Warcraft guilds, and as I was talking, I could sort of see what she was thinking: “Losers. Grown men sitting in their basement pretending to be elves.”

At least they’re doing something.

Did you ever see that episode of Gilligan’s Island where they almost get off the island and then Gilligan messes up and then they don’t? I saw that one. I saw that one a lot when I was growing up. And every half-hour that I watched that was a half an hour I wasn’t posting at my blog or editing Wikipedia or contributing to a mailing list. Now I had an ironclad excuse for not doing those things, which is none of those things existed then. I was forced into the channel of media the way it was because it was the only option. Now it’s not, and that’s the big surprise. However lousy it is to sit in your basement and pretend to be an elf, I can tell you from personal experience it’s worse to sit in your basement and try to figure if Ginger or Mary Ann is cuter.

Are here we come to a main difference between Our People and non-gamers — interactivity. We don’t want to yell at the running back, we want to control his movements. Seeing who ends up being The Biggest Loser is not for us; we want to train our own characters to succeed.”

And as everything people see and touch becomes more and more interactive, we recognize that the world is finally starting to catch up.

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