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A Little Wii At Work
The head of our group here at work recently bought us a Wii to play after work. I have to say this is an extremely smart move, as it encourages employees to gather together at the end of the day, and bond over that which every person can appreciate – a little healthy competition. So, thanks to this little gimmick, here I am, at 12am, having just finished playing Wii for 2 hours.
Interestingly, I am sweating profusely, just as after a good aerobic exercise. There was definitely a lot of moving around as I ducked to avoid punches and jumped up and down to land a couple of my own. It occurs to me that this is such a contrast from the video games of the 90s, where the most action you can expect is banging on a couple of buttons with your fingers. Now, not only are you having fun and learning some skills, you’re also getting some pretty good aerobic exercise!
My Education From Video Games
Looking back, I think video games really play a pretty big role in the education of mankind. For example, back when I was in high school, I clearly recalled playing an online role playing game called The Realm Online. Every morning, I would get up to kill some monsters and complete some missions. Eventually though, I did everything there was to do in the game, except finding some of the rare items. This is where I started getting some very good lessons about the economy. Instead of playing the game, I bought and sold a lot of in-game items: Buying a thingy for 4 million, selling it for 6 million. Not only that, this game has very interesting twist, in that there is no trading system, so any trade would have to be a “you give first, then I give” sort of thing. That taught me the value of integrity and being an honest person. People liked me and would pay an extra amount just to have bought stuff from CowWarrior (that was my nickname in the game).
Eventually, starting from 1000 gold, I became one of the only billionaires in the game. I was online almost all the time, serving customers as soon as I was able to. I charged a high price, but I was also the only one where you can sell and buy quickly, with no hassles. I ran sweepstakes and became very well known in the community. It was a fun time for me. When I finally decided to quit, there was no shortage of buyers for my account, which I sold for a measly sum of $500.
Before long, I had gotten into other online role playing games, such as Diablo 2. Coming off of my “success” in The Realm, I worked diligently to buy and sell items. In my senior year of high school, I made a few thousand dollars from this venture. Not too much money, but nothing to scoff at either. Interestingly enough, the principles I learned through these minor business experiences are really no different than the ones you’d learn in real life. There were times I was stuck with items I couldn’t sell. There were times where things gone really well. There were angry customers, good customers, cheaters, scammers – all the regular bunch you’d see in real life. And that is exactly what video games are – minor simulations of particular aspects of real life.
Video Games And The Human Race
As the simulations get more and more realistic, people will be able to explore a wider variety of social, physical, and economic interactions, ultimately having the potential to learn much more. For example, playing a baseball game on a Nintendo, I might be able to learn the timing of when to swing a bat. On the Wii, I would be able to learn the actual trajectory to take with my muscles (at least more so than on a NES). If the simulation becomes sufficiently good, we’ll probably start seeing pro baseball players who’s never even played a real game. With better training material, our kids have the opportunity to learn faster, making the human race smarter.
It’s pretty clear (at least for me) where this is going. Eventually, we’ll have some sort of holographic 3-D simulations where you can actually walk around and hit things, taking it to the next level. This is pretty well demonstrated in shows like Star Trek. Imagine being able to summon a baseball team at will to practice with you, all the while having the computer adapt to your weaknesses and strengths. Compared to that, all our current education and training systems are pretty ancient.
After that, technology would probably develop towards being able to directly implant an experience simulation into your mind, much like in The Matrix. Can you imagine that? A kid can learn everything you know right now, in a matter of a couple months of high speed experience simulations. What would that do to the amount of things we can accomplish and the speed at which we’ll grow?
The Growth Of Our Civilization
It seems like this is actually one of the main measures of how fast our civilization is advancing: How fast can we transfer what we know to the next generation? Increase this speed and we’ll spend less time teaching, and more time exploring, discovering more new and wonderful things. Of course, these new things must be taught to others and the cycle repeats. The more ideas we have, the easier it would be to find solutions to common problems. For example, say there’s 1000 scientists right now working on curing cancer and 5000 students who are learning from them (and will eventually take their place). If the learning process sped up, we would have potentially 5000 more scientists working on curing cancer, making it all the more likely that someone will come up with a viable solution.
All in all, we’re definiately headed towards bigger and better things in the coming millennium. Isn’t it great to know that you’re on the brink of something wonderful?
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