Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Programming from the Game World

In a slight departure from previous entries, I'd like to talk briefly on the effectiveness of videogames as neural programming tools. The compulsive gameplay of good videogames, high replayability, and engaging storylines leaves a huge mark on the developing brain. Add in additively engaging reward structures in the form of level-ups or rare item drops, and you have a system that can leave its marks, whatever they may be, on the very foundation of human consciousness, lingering for years after the a player has put down a controller. As videogames have only been around in their current form since the late '80s, research on their effects on the brain has been limited. But it doesn't take a WoW junkie to tell you that video games can have a profound effect on the human psyche.

That said, a child's exposure to videogames necessarily cuts both ways, and its effects vary wildly depending on the type of game that is played. Video games are brilliantly effective at exposing children toalternative worldviews and systems of thought. Instead of opposing dominant cultural tropes outright, good videogames invite players to engage willingly in a series of worlds where they can spend hundreds - if not thousands of hours of their time acclimating themselves to alternate worldviews, beliefs, and futures. Though the vast majority of players consider these conventions to be entirely fictitious, many players internalize these systems on a subconscious level. Those who resonate with the thematic material then have a basis in their childhood to try to change the world as adults, a drive which has been supported by a rigorous system of self - directed training which lends itself to practical advancement in a variety of systems and fields. If this sounds strange to you, realize that the same policies are being carried out by the US Military through its explicit support of games such as CounterStrike and Modern Warfare, as well as developing its own game for the purposes of recruitment. In the modern military, soldiers often train themselves for thousands of hours on store bought simulations, paying handily for the privilege.

The brain is inherently programmable - it will form deeper grooves in its cranial folds through repeated exposure to similar data. This fact has been known to magicians for years, who undertake their own reprogramming with knowledge, will, and secrecy. However, with the unlimited freedoms of the internet, this veil is beginning to rise, and the weight is ever greater on the consumer to program their own mental currents, and determine the person that they wish to become.

I am only glad that some companies such as Square and Disney used this technique to expand the knowledge base of its most perceptive young consumers, rather than channeling it into the technology of destruction.

Many thanks to these awesome companies for the work that they have done, and for bringing some positive software into our systems!


  1. You can't blame games for having an effect on kids, you must blame the stupid, ignorant parents who bought them the game in the first place

  2. I definitely agree with this post. I relate everyday experiences to video games all the time! Gamer addict :( lol good post!

  3. I highly agree with your ideas. Look at how much Super Mario Bros changed the word and started an addiction. I vouch that that game helped mold me into who I am today.

    I follow and support those who do likewise.

  4. A very well thought-out post. Thank you for the information. I agree fully, but it is troublesome to think if the original videogames would have had the destructive capablilites they do at today's point.

  5. i was just watching a video about iraq, and a trooper said "you know in movies they get hit,fall down and die...but out here, you get hit, and your still walking around, talking, swinging on a swingset with your guts hanging out like its ok."
    Soma Shank Tank