The South by Southwest Interactive festival is about to roar into gear down in Austin, and DISCOVER just couldn’t miss out on the chance to mix and mingle with the leet ranks of hackers, gamers, geeks, and entrepreneurs.
So tomorrow (that’s Friday) at 5 pm, DISCOVER’s own Web editor extraordinaire, Amos Zeeberg, will moderate a panel discussion titled, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: The Future of Video Games.”
Video games are more popular than ever, and new games are delivering all kinds of social benefits, from video-game therapy for treating PTSD, to sims for train surgeons, to alternate-reality games that actually bring people together in real life. Will video games be a positive force for people and society in the future?
Lucy Bradshaw, with the video game giant Electronic Arts, worked as an executive producer for blockbuster games like Spore and The Sims 2. Spore was a favorite with science geeks, since the game characters evolve from microorganisms to complex animals before building societies and taking to space.
Tiffany Barnes, a professor of computer science, builds video games that teach introductory computer science. She’s interested in “harnessing the inherent motivation in video games” for more constructive purposes–like getting students to do their homework.
Neuroscience prof James Bower will explain why he started Whyville, a massively popular virtual world for kids. The educational site reportedly has a player base of more than 5 million users, who learn about everything from science to business to geography.
If you’re at SXSW, stop by for insights on whether gaming can save the world!