It’s a sad, sad day seeing as this will be all of our last posts. I’m kicking off my all nighter in the library with this post so I’m going to try to make it good. I really enjoyed today’s class; I felt that the slideshow and the activity on the computers really helped us engage in meaningful discussion. As we neared the end of class we kind of strayed away from using games like World of Warcraft as our examples and started talking about things that could apply to anyone.
Yee’s article brought up some interesting points that I had never really thought of about blurring the line between work and play. At first I was on the side of the argument that MMORPG’s were the only types of game that could have this effect of people, but after today’s class my view has changed. While video games like WoW may have more of an effect, I believe that almost any video game has aspects that can be applied in the work world. Take Tetris for example, one of the simplest games that many people see as just a time killer. There is not much of a storyline, no characters or complex environment but it does teach something. As the blocks start falling faster and faster, the game forces you to plan ahead more and more. You not only have to focus on the blocks that are already set but you have to look at the lineup ahead to figure out a good place for each one to go. Although it may not be the best teacher, this game can teach patience, strategy and planning. I’m not saying that all games are created to be educational or develop the mind, but I am saying almost any games has qualities that can applied to the working world, once again blurring that line.
With that said, there are definitely things created that purposely blur the line between work and play, Google Image Labeler being a perfect example. Luis von Ahn, who I think is a genius, came up with a way for people to escape the world of work while still being productive. People may play this game without thinking about it much, and they don’t even realize that while they are having their fun they are actually working for someone else. This amazing idea, which we discussed earlier in the year, is changing the world of databases and the way information is gathered. It allows the everyday person to contribute to a database, and the amazing thing is that they choose to do it AND they choose to do it for free! This is the perfect example of Yee’s argument. People are no longer looking at something as strictly for work or strictly for play, the two are fusing more frequently to create a more efficient and productive workforce.
As I’ve talked about it so far it seems as though this is a flawless plan but the truth is that nothing is perfect. I noticed on Google Image Labeler that there were top scorers who achieved an almost unimaginable amount of points. These people are obviously no longer doing it as an escape from work; it has become an obsession for some of these people. The articles mention people who play MMORPG’s who get burned out and feel like they are coming home for work only to have to do another job. The image labeler was designed to be productive fun, but it is trapping people just like games like World of Warcraft do. People are cheating and playing constantly to try and be the best and get the highest score. I can’t imagine this is too fun for these people; they just keep doing it because it is an obsession.
While I think the fusion of work and play will continue to affect our society more, it is a somewhat dangerous thing. Many people would love for our population to always be productive but the truth is people need some way to escape. If we start thinking about everything as work people will get burned out doing almost anything. People need to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with sitting down on the couch after a long day at work, grabbing a beer, get nothing done and feel great about it.