Video games closer to real life than you thinkPublished 2:23pm Friday, October 26, 2012
It’s no surprise video games are becoming more mainstream, as we’re discovering more connections between the game world and real life every day. For those who think video games don’t affectthem in some way, shape or form, there’s a lot of things connecting you to a controller.
Case in point: The Final Fantasy series battle system was derived from the NFL.
I read the coolest interview the other day where Square Enix producer Hiroyuki Ito, the programmer who has designed the battle mechanics for a majority of Final Fantasy games (including the first) told 1up.com how he took his inspiration from the strategies behind NFL play-calling. That Active Battle System? Similar in nature to an automatic transmission, according to Ito.
This is the latest in a long list of ways people are connected to video games of all types.
Our fantasy football leagues use similar rules and stats-crunching as a D&D game. Our classrooms use programs and applications to learn everything from how to type — I learned a lot from “Mario Teaches Typing” as an elementary student — to how to spell and add basic numbers at the kindergarten and first-grade level.
Games are increasingly prevalent in our lives, from the simulation used by Riverland Community College law enforcement students to the “Neverwinter Nights”-based computer game that was part of the curriculum in a journalism research course at the University of Minnesota.
Which is why it is sometimes frustrating to hear or read evidence that people aren’t acknowledging some of the benefits gaming brings. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, recently took the National Science Foundation to task in his annual report on government spending wastes for giving a programming team from the University of California at Santa Cruz a $516,000 to design the game “Prom Week.”
The game revolves around social interactions between teenagers in the week before prom, but the team’s main goal was to research the AI programming that makes it run. The goal was to find ways to design better games that can be used for simulation or education — things we as a society are already trying to do, albeit not as well as our scientists, programmers, educators and entrepreneurs would like.
The argument over whether our government should fund AI simulations aside, it’s clear our best and brightest are trying to find ways to expand humanity’s knowledge through one of the most tried-and-true methods: learning from a game. Who doesn’t remember the lessons, large and small, they learned on a field or court?
Who doesn’t carry memories from playing board games with loved ones and the interesting tid-bits they learned? Video games are an extension of those lessons, just in a different form. What’s more, as we become more technologically advanced, our pastimes and lessons will considerably advance as well.
It’s time to say hello to the joystick.
It doesn’t bite, and it’s just as useful to your mind as a training manual or practice pads.