8 TED Talks About Video Games


TED Talks are a great way to learn more about thought-provoking concepts you don't typically encounter on a daily basis. For instance, how do video games affect your brain? How can gaming enhance a classroom? Can video games help to create a better world? These are all topics covered by captivating presenters in their own TED Talks. This article contains eight of the best Talks that relate to video games, game development, and how gaming affects our lives.


Your Brain on Video Games

Stereotypically, first person shooters have a poor reputation when it comes to how they affect gamers. Some critics claim they're pointless and mind-numbing, while others may not approve of the violence. Daphne Bavelier, a brain scientist, crushes many of the negative perceptions surrounding FPS games. In her TED talk, you'll learn how action-packed shooters can improve your focus and ability to multitask.


Gaming Can Make a Better World

Jane McGonigal poses an important question in her TED Talk: what if it were as easy to solve real-world problems as it is to save the world in a video game? McGonigal uses World of Warcraft as an example of how online games can positively impact gamers. Not only do quest givers trust you with truly important tasks, but you're constantly surrounded by collaborators in game. Epic wins, fascinating story lines, and continuous positive feedback making gaming a fun, engaging experience. So - how can we translate that to the real world?


7 Ways Video Games Reward the Brain

I don't know if I can express how excited I was when I finally saw the rare mount drop - the one I'd been farming for months. Why was it so satisfying? Now, flying around on Ashes of Al'ar in real life would be insane, but why do I care so much about a non-tangible, digital object? Tom Chatfield explores how video games do such an amazing job rewarding us - from adjusting drop rates to rewards for effort.


Will Video Games Become Better than Life?

David Perry explores how video games have progressed since the days of Pong. He not only discusses how graphics have progressed immensely but how games are becoming more emotionally satisfying. Perry's TED Talk also includes an except from Michael Highland's film "As Real As Your Life." This Talk is from 2006, so it's quite interesting to see Perry's predictions for how games will become more lush and complex in the future.


Sustainable Perspectives on Video Games

Often times, video games help people make sense of what it means to be human. The stories that exists in many popular video games often mirror situations we've all faced at one time or another. Andy Robertson discusses how games are more than a fun hobby. Books and movies provide fantastic stories for us to dive into, but it's only in video games where you can truly become the storyteller. Robertson produces alternative responses to video games in form of songs, plays, and art. These responses are a new way to discuss and share video games outside of a standard online game review.


Video Game Confidential

Susan O'Connor is a writer who has worked on games such as Bioshock and Far Cry 2. In her TED Talk, she discusses what she's learned from her career and how she is learning to become a hero in her own life. She prompts listeners to think about their lives as if they're a writer. What does it mean to be a hero?



Classroom Game Design

Paul Andersen is a science teacher from Montana and an avid video game player. He has mastered how to apply gaming elements to his classroom to engage students. His students start out with 0 experience points at the beginning of the year, and they can battle against each other on a classroom leaderboard. His class is a video game - Biohazard 5. Learn about Andersen's active, student-centered classroom in this awesome TED Talk.


Nerd Fitness and Resetting the Game of Life

Steve Kamb's gaming journey started with The Legend of Zelda. He eventually fell in love with Everquest and began to devote twelve hours a day to playing the game. Soon, he was spending all of his time in a virtual world, separated from reality. When his motherboard fried and he didn't have enough money to repair it, he decided to embark on a new journey. In 2009, Kamb applied different aspects of video game culture and rewards to his own life. He titled this adventure Epic Quest of Awesome. In his TED Talk, Kamb explores how you can discover what type of game you'd like your life to be and how to get started.


Why I Brought Pac-Man to MoMA

Bonus video! Hear from Paola Antonelli, the Museum of Modern Art's senior curator of achitecture and design, on why she brought Pac-Man to MoMA. She discusses the influence of design in our daily lives, the criticism she faced when adding 14 video games to the museum in 2012, and why she wants to change the understanding of design in today's world. Thanks u/not_perfect_yet for this great addition to the list!


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