Gamers – A New Breed of Knowledge Workers in the Making?

2 thoughts on “Gamers – A New Breed of Knowledge Workers in the Making?”

  1. Fantastic TED video, and a great article to go with it!

    I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember (I’m now in my mid-30s, and have been working mostly in Knowledge Management as well) and while listening to McGonigal’s talk I found myself nodding at points. What I found most resonant was the notion that gaming is a means by which a social fabric can be woven, even between people who are vastly different in all other respects.

    Growing up, most of my friendships were formed through the gaming medium. This is not to say that I was hunched over my computer with all of my interactions taking place through some online game (actually, this was before the time when the Internet was found in every home, or in any home at all) – the games I played with my friends were console games like the original Nintendo or the Playstation. It was a weekend ritual for most of my early teenage years to get together with a friend or two playing an all-night session in front of the TV, working to “beat” some new game or other.

    Thinking back, after having watched McGonigal’s talk, it seems to me that I had very little in common (as people) with the friends I made in playing games. For all that I enjoyed the games, I also loved books (where they didn’t) and tended to be quiet and calm (where at least two of my friends were as high-strung as could be). I think it really was the GAME that pulled us together, and allowed us to bond by giving us a common goal and “epic meaning” – and I still remember some very specific moments (late into the night or early morning) where my friends and I would break through some frustrating challenge and achieve the endgame, allowing us that moment of shared victory.

    Even without the electronic consoles and online games, I see games as being a large part of community-building: consider the culture and spirit of followers of local sports teams, for example. Also, in my part of the world (Eastern Canada), the largely rural communities still observe the long-standing custom of weekend “card-plays”, where people from the community get together to play cards in a single venue.

    I think, for me, this is the main point of McGonigal’s talk: that games are everywhere, and everyone plays them. The question is then just a matter of what game, specifically, we prefer to play.

    I am not surprised at the thought that games bring us together and bring out the best of our co-operative tendencies – I do find myself wondering how that could translate into the “real world” so that we might enjoy the benefits here as well.

    Maybe the key is not seeing the divide between the “real world” and the world of the game – I see a lot of that line starting to blur with the movement toward more open workplaces that are more open to sharing challenges around the table equally.

    And I like how social networking has helped to blur that line as well, giving us the same capacity to interact with one another constantly that we might find in an online game such as World of Warcraft.

    Exciting times, interesting ideas presented in the talk and in your article – thanks for having shared it!

    ~ Shawn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *