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Scientific Gaming

October 7, 2011

“Video games will rot your brain!” How many times did I hear that as a kid?  Ok, probably not that many but it did seem to be a kind of mantra for adults who thought kids spent too much time playing video games.  Personally, I owe much of my professional success to video games.  They were the means by which I learned about computers, they introduced me to programing, and perhaps most importantly they helped to teach me how to think and solve problems for myself.  Of course I cannot “prove” any of this but it is my personal experience and the experience of several of my friends as well.

For all these reason I am always pleased when I find some something that supports my view that video game can have a positive and important role in people’s lives.  A couple weeks ago one of those friends I mention above (whom I also work with at SNQ) sent me this link: Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle.  Go on… Take a moment to read it… It is fairly short.

Wow!  How awesome is that?  A game designed to discover and map chains of amino acids, the structure of proteins.  Leading to data that can help save lives by developing new drugs to fight things like AIDS!  And it makes perfect sense to me!  As a gamer I understand the drive to, find and uncover every nuance of a game, the desire to explore every nook and cranny, or in modern game terms to “get all the achievements”.

I truly hope that creative application of gaming can lead to many such discoveries in the future.

Jeff

www.statusnotquo.com

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 10:53 am

    Definitely one of those times you wonder “how did you guys earn your degrees?”

    I honestly think there’s a lot of potential in the game industry to spark learning and research. In my opinion I think gamers have a unique asset in terms of knowledge and understanding. Since society is fractured into career paths which force all of us to pick a singular field, I think video games is where it’s recombined into a stew and served with a side of fun. Not saying gamers are genius; but likely as a social group, could exceed any specific field. I think that renaissance man approach does benefit more than the good old fashioned “when I grow up, I want to be [insert occupation here].”

    Seriously this could open a large opportunity for developers to slip in game content that force players to solve a real life problem. From my perspective, we’re already good guinea pigs. The idea of action and reward has really settled into the culture. And I’ll admit, sometimes highly addictive. Ethically, likely a no-no in terms of exposing humans to solving real problems for humans. But the upside is no one is really being harmed, give the lab rat a puzzle and he’ll solve it for you.

    I’ve always had this idea bounce around of incorporating real life skills into a video like language, science, sociology (well, you get the point). Would be interesting how the game would turn out and how people would organize themselves s to complete these quests. Maybe next best problem to science could be the next epic quest in some video game?

    Good or bad, I’m pretty happy with the fact we’re getting closer to getting new drugs for AIDS. Lots of people suffering, it’s fair that the global village is taking care of itself.

    • October 7, 2011 11:10 am

      Interesting… I had not really looked at it that way. As a software developer I work in a variety of industries. One thing that sets Status Not Quo apart from other software consulting firms is our ability to get in and truly understand our clients business which lets us directly address their needs. Considering that most of us here are gamers you may be on to something.

  2. October 7, 2011 12:58 pm

    Yeah, I always aspired to be a game developer some day. Indie or corporate, I wouldn’t have the necessary programming skills to really pull it off. If anything’s concerned, I can write more or less pretty well (despite what my grades say about me). So I’m just stuck writing ideas down on a pad I keep around for my game ideas, mostly language based challenges and a reward system.

    One thing I like with how they’ve deployed their crowd-sourcing is just the simple point system. From what I can tell, there’s not real merit beside being part of a community and bragging rights of course. Maybe someday there will be an achievement on Xbox, Achievement Unlocked: Cured Cancer?

    I’ve read through your company’s doc, it’s impressive.

    • October 7, 2011 2:02 pm

      If being a game programmer is what you really want to do then I say go for it! As long as you have an aptitude and desire to program the skills can be learned. I know for me I always thought that developing games would be fun but I was more interesting in just programing in general. I didn’t really care what I was creating so long as I got to write code. But sometimes things have a way of working themselves out. Not long ago SNQ merged with a mobile game development. While it is unlikely that I will we doing any actual game development in the near future it is really cool to get to see the process (http://www.zombiewonderland.com/).

      Hah wouldn’t that be great. That would be one heck of an achievement!

      Oh and thanks for checking us out. :)

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