Half a year ago, when we were looking for investors for GameFounders, I met with a lot of people, introduced our concept and asked them to invest. When they heard that we would invest only into gaming (or gamification) startups, I would usually encounter one of the two very different reactions:
1) He (I can’t remember the ever was a ‘she’..) thought that it was amazing what we were doing, OR
2) He was appalled of what we were doing, because “games is a waste of time. The most stupid thing someone can voluntarily do is shooting birds at pigs”.
Over the time I could predict which one of those opinions the person had before even talking to him. How could I do that?
Magic number 40.
Anybody over that age born in Estonia (Soviet Union back then) is highly unlikely to have ever played any video game and probably not a huge variety of other games in their childhood either. Anyone younger than fourty has probably at least tried a video game or two and thus knows what kind of excitement, engagement and other positive feelings and sensations they can produce.
Benjamin Franklin once said: Games lubricate the body and mind. I couldn’t agree more. When I was a kid, the games were mostly about training reaction speed, pattern recognition and physical skills. Some of them involved perhaps a little bit of tactical thinking, too. Today’s games can train person in so many more things: strategical thinking, economics, money management, languages, interpersonal skils – communication, leadership (think MMOs) and so on. And the learning curve is much faster, too.
In fact, there are medical benefits in playing games. Games are regularly used to maintain cognitive abilities of people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There are studies that show that playing games can help avoid (and cure depression. Basically, you can’t be depressed when you are deeply engaged in a game. Playing games can give the depth that our fast superficial living styles often lack.
Also, wouldn’t life a bit dull without games? Let it be a video game, sports game or even a dating game. And even if the only thing you play does involve getting those eggs back from those d*mn pigs, be sure not to lose the physics lesson inside the game!