A correspondent wrote:
I happened upon your site, and I immediately became a big fan of your work and ideas. I myself am headed down the path of game design (read simply as “game design”, not necessarily “video game design”), and I feel like someone with your experience and knowledge of games could have some valuable insight into a few questions I have.
So, to the point:
You obviously assign quite a bit of value to the act of having fun, and specifically to playing games. Do you think games are most valuable as tools for education, for healing/therapy, for motivation, or for emotional/psychological escape from life-experiences which can often be less-than-enjoyable?
How do you feel about competitive games? Do you think they’re any less useful or valuable than “pointless games”?
Do you consider games, playfulness, fun, and joy to be the sole building blocks of an enjoyable and worthwhile life? If not, what other elements would you assign such importance to?
I generally always respond to someone who starts a message with “…immediately became a big fan of your work and ideas.” Sometimes, I respond with a certain amount of, shall we say, taciturnity, so that I can better midwife a nascent dialog – especially when the questions are so heartfelt. And so, this:
I think games are valuable in education and at least as valuable in healing. Though some use them for escape, I think that they are better used to help people embrace (and celebrate) life.
Competitive games require more awareness than they are usually given. I look on them as more complex games, because they deal with a wider variety of motivations (e.g.: wanting to win, demonstrating team affiliation…)
I am much more focused on fun than on games these days, and I most definitely believe that it is a key building block to an enjoyable and worthwhile life. There are other things, more subtly connected to this domain, like: love, joy, mastery, grace….
Your further questions, comments, insights and out, are most welcome.
A playful path is the shortest road to happiness.
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