Over at Terra Nova they are talking about this insurance commercial (“The Lord of Mishap”) which was first aired on TV.  Check it out and pop back when you’re finished.

There is some speculation about this being a repositioning of gamers and gaming as more socially acceptable.  My own take is that it is simply that marketers are reaching into the grab bag of social mythos to hawk their wares.  The representation of the gamers is fairly superficial and stereotypical – and probably targetting Gen Y as they come to the age of mortgage and insurance.  

Anthropologist Thomas Malaby however suggests that despite the fairly mundane circumstances of the production of this advertisement there is a good opportunity to look at the place and perception of gaming in the broader economic landscape…

whether the status of gaming competence, culturally speaking, is changing in important ways. As soon as it becomes a commonplace for gamer skill to be identified with a particular aspect of business expertise, then something has changed in the cultural imagination.

There ensues an interesting chain of discussion that leads us to the Serious Games Summit and other aspects of Games for Learning and more “noble” applications of gaming technologies.  More noble in the sense that games for entertainment seems somehow “trivial’ except that the industry is still growing and is worth billions globally.

Ultimately nothing is really resolved but some interesting insights are presented.  I think I sit on the side of the fence saying that mainstream society is still to be convinced there is much value in game-playing.  However, Malaby is right in saying that its a good time to take stock of perceptions and to talk.

I really think there is a major discussion to be considered in the last entry I read about the role of “flow states” in game playing.  I was briefly excited to find mention of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the discussion.  His work on Creativity, and subsequently his association of this sort of work with business management starts to draw some really interesting possibilities in the scope of what types of tacit knowledege and ability is developed through game playing.  I think therein is probably the basis of the really groundbreaking investigations into the potential of games for learning.  Simple “curriculum content” approaches are not goign to yield much int he development of engaging games, and if they don’t engage they won’t have much value in learning environments.  What we may need to do is turn our thinking on its head and start speculating on the value of what is already inherent learning in game playing.

Of course, there is always the US Congress take on things.  Check out the discussion at JoyStiq.com where they dissect this weeks Daily Show – Jon Stewart rips into the ignorant, misinformed and outright infalmmatory submissions being made in Congress this week.

There’s also some discussion of the hearing at Gaming Horizon in an article called Hearing Impaired Editorial

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