And I don't mean that in a 'figurative sense' or as a playfully ironic commentary on the the over-abundance of superhero tropes and 'hero complex' tales. I mean it instead that I think videogames are teaching our kids and young adults to think through, what is to many older persons, potentially opaque and incomprehensible systems.
Let me explain.
I was watching the fantastic Michael Moore style documentary The Corporation. You've probably seen the promo's for it - it's the one where the film makers compare the corporation as a legal "person" to a psychopath. It makes sense, after all it has no conscience and it's main driving motivation is the bottom line.
One of the big things that I got out of the documentary was that whenever people saw through what was a patently exploitative system (as was the case in the Bolivian water riots and a number of other examples) people got up and did something about it.
Videogames, according to Ian Bogost, can speak to players through what he terms Procedural Rhetoric, and as games get more complicated and convoluted, gamers are only getting more and more used to the idea of procedures and systems. Gonzalo Frasca in his essay for The Videogame Theory Reader (which I have summarised elsewhere) likens simulation to the act of creating government legislation and I think he's quite right when he says that
"Video games imply an enormous paradigm shift for our culture because they represent the first complex simulational media for the masses".
Videogames can and are giving players the experiences necessary and the cognitive tools to be able to start to come to grips with large systems and procedures. In the film The Corporation, a company appearing 'socially responsible' becomes a market driven reaction to consumers being turned off by irresponsible plunderers of the environment. This is a product of the market, which in itself is a system. When more people are taught (by videogames) the ability to think through processes in general, it is my hope more people will start to take positive action and make themselves heard about a number of these inherently bad systems that have cropped up in society.
That's enough of my ranting. Go watch The Corporation on YouTube or DVD and get excited about the prospect of a gamer revolution! Viva La Gamer!