Utne Blogs > Science and Technology

Beyond Pong: How Video Games Are Changing Science

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: Science and Technology, visionaries, video games, computers, Seed,

video game controllerEven as a fifth grader, I knew better than to claim that gaming is educational when begging for a Nintendo game system.  But video games have evolved exponentially over the past twenty years, becoming more sophisticated and sometimes educational. Today, gaming can teach not just kids, but scientists too.

Writing for Seed, Abbie Morgan looks at five video games, (Spore, Emotiv Systems’ EPOC Headset, Foldit, Immune Attack, and 3D Virtual Creature Evolution) which have each revolutionized and enhanced different areas of science. The games are intriguingly complex, especially the universe-building Spore, the latest offering by The Sims creator Will Wright. Seed has also posted a neat video of a conversation between Wright and astrobiologist Jill Tarter. Considering their applications in modern science, all five games profiled by Morgan could provide young gamers with good ammunition the next time they’re campaigning for more play time from their parents.

Image by Rebecca Pollard, licensed by Creative Commons.