Unlike president Obama, vice president Al Gore likes video games... at least, he likes social games, and their potential to affect real world problems. At a speech at New York University for Games for Change, Gore lauded games, pointing out that the success of the industry is a rare bright spot in terms of the economy. Gore's main point, though, was that the communities taht come together around games has the potential for solving real world problems.
"This is a very large, extremely significant industry with a wildly diverse and rapidly-growing audience of players on all kinds of platforms," Gore said. "We already know the immense power of popular media to illuminate issues that can seem intractable and overly-complex, but can be illuminated and presented to general audiences in a way that invites people to become involved in trying to solve the problems that our society has to solve."
The real point of Gore's speech was more high-minded than just delivering a rhetorical high-five to the video game industry. Gore's real interest in in "gamification," the idea that the concept that make playing a game fun can be used to solve problems and create good in the real world. He game two examples.
"I've been encouraged by recent developments like Trash Tycoon and Oceanopolis," Gore said. "both have spurred my thinking in this area. In closing, I want to say that I'd love to work with any teams that are interested in making games that are focused on solutions to the climate crisis. I look forward to getting to know this community better."
Solving the climate crisis is a pretty tall order for games, but I don't think games would hurt, per se. What do you guys think? Do you see a future where gaming is the source of social good? Or are games just mere escapism that help humanity by giving us a harmless way to blow off steam?