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Analytic Gaming

Analytic Gaming

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Published by T M Copeland
Analytic Gaming is an essay about the potential utilization of gaming technology to train and motivate people to make better personal decisions.
Analytic Gaming is an essay about the potential utilization of gaming technology to train and motivate people to make better personal decisions.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: T M Copeland on Jun 01, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Gaming, when being discussed as a decisionsupport tool, training tool or an administrativetool, can, if one is not careful, dissolve intosatire. Perhaps that is as true for any number ofother topics as it is for gaming but it iscertainly true when the subject is gaming. The factthat the word “game” is primarily associated withplay makes this vulnerability so pronounced.That caveat stated, the fact is, gaming servesthese very functions for a wide variety ofcorporate and governmental operational areas.Everything from the mundane, predictingneighborhood reaction to changes in garbagecollection schedules, to the truly horrific, warplanning to the absolutely unthinkable, diplomaticresponses to the genocidal policies of anothergovernment or polity, is now subject to seriousgaming analytics.Yet, even the most serious of analytic gamingefforts is susceptible to derision in the popular media. This derision emanates both from thosepersons of good will who simply don’t understandand from those person of ill will who do understandbut don’t want any positive application of theanalytic games.Gaming, like any complicated, nuanced activity,can too easily be held to ridicule in the broaderpublic mind. Whether by savage, prideful ignorantpersons, Rush Limbaugh springs to mind,deliberately denigrating an analytical gamingexercise, or by the benign ignorant who simplyattacks that which he does not understand, gamingcan be an easy target.
For the most part, gaming professionals havedealt with this “weakness” in one of two ways. Thefirst is to stick with the public notion that
gaming is play. The second is to hide the seriousanalytical efforts from the public.These coping techniques tend to limit theapplication of gaming theory to play or toorganizations big enough or secretive enough toshield gaming activities from the sight of stockholders and tax payers. This denies the widerpublic of the potential benefits of gaming to theirlives. The solution is not to hide from the public.The solution is to confront the public withexamples of how gaming could be of benefit.
One such example was mentioned in the CREATIVESOLUTIONS page on May 17, 2009. That statementposed the question of how long it would be beforesome of the dating/match making services began touse games to allow clients, before they meet, todetermine general compatibility and/or areas ofpotential conflict.Modern society has so many disaffected,isolated persons who have no access to traditionalsocial networks that used to supply mate/partneropportunities. That is the very reason these match making services came into being. Most of these matchmaking services also have clients who provedifficult to match. As a result, many people tendto move from service to service attempting tolocate Mister or MS right.It seems to me that an analytical gaming system that functioned as a social network for clients of matchmaker services would be rather easy to developand deploy. There are already many examples ofpeople who “met” as avatars in Second Life orMetaPlace or other such virtual worlds and went onto forge real lives together. In a way, meeting insuch an environment can offer a far better view ofthe “essence” of someone than meeting in person.Meeting in a virtual system offers the opportunity,an opportunity that is, at once, both and advantageand disadvantage, of allowing a person to present
him or her self free of class distinctions,appearance issues and a host of other features.Granted, these features are important, perhapscritical in determining a potential match. However,it is also true these features can and do sometimesget in the way and obscure far more importantconsiderations. A virtual relationship has, atleast, the ability to allow less obvious featuresof an individual be “seen” first. Another potential game could allow prospectiveparents an opportunity to train before the real,human baby arrives. When my wife and I were youngand our children were newly born, we frequentlyrepeated to statement, “They don’t come with anuser’s guide.” It should be possible to build arole playing game that would put prospectiveparents into situations, both mundane and crisis, with a virtual child. I know such a training game would have benefited my wife, our kids and me.
Other potential, less personal games might, forinstance, allow college and high school kids tolearn investment strategies and how differentstrategies perform in varying economic climates. Another might teach financial management for thehousehold, confronting players with the unexpected,illustrating what happens when jobs are lost, medical bills pile up, etc.Games can often teach certain things far betterthan books and lectures, Efforts should be made to make analytical gaming part of every schoolcurricula. Educators should review the variouscourses of instruction to determine which subjectslend themselves to gaming based instruction.Likewise, some students are experiential learnersand do not do well with traditional lecture andread courses. Even in subjects that might best betaught, to the majority of students, there arestudents who would learn and retain more about suchsubjects if taught through interactive gaming.

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