Saturday, October 14, 2017

PinkFae Archive #3: Can Games Save the World? The Social Benefit of Games

In our reposting of my PinkFae articles, we come to #3. Enjoy!

One very long game board of the Settlers of Catan board game stretching across many tables, as hundreds of people sit along it playing the game with each other in small groups. The ultimate in social gaming?

We live in a crazy world. Despite the internet, people have bad ideas, wrong ideas, and just plain stupid ideas. But research has shown that increasing social contact helps spread good ideas. Humans are, after all, social creatures. We crave contact with others, and the more diverse the contact we have, the better society will be. What better way to improve our social situation than through playing games?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville

We're going to take another stroll into off-topic-land. As I'm sure you know by now, this past month has seen the debut of two new television series of interest to nerds and dorks like myself: Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville. Fans of this blog will be aware that I am a major Star Trek nerd.

Just to be certain, let me describe why. Some of you may have read my previous post in which I describe the reason I love the original Star Trek so very much. If this is the case, you can safely skip the next paragraph to get to the good stuff. But I want this understanding to be explicit so that the rest of this entry will make sense.

The original Star Trek was wonderful for five main reasons: 1) it was relentlessly optimistic, 2) it used science-fiction to explore modern social topics, 3) it eschewed the traditional good/evil dichotomy for a more nuanced dynamic between antagonists and protagonists, 4) it emphasised exploration and discovery, and 5) the character dynamic of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy was a wonderful thing to behold. Although The Next Generation did not have #5, it did a good job (especially starting in season 3) of the other themes listed here. The other Trek series? Not so much...

So when I heard that they were making a new Star Trek series, I was very excited. I was looking forward to getting back to basics. Back to what I loved about the original series. Sure, it wouldn't have Kirk, Spock, or McCoy, but it would have the other elements.

Or so I hoped.