"Female Gamers Invade Pax East": NPR's WBUR "Radio Boston"-- this radio segment by ANNA PINKERT covers game convention and follows Geek Dad+Geek Mom writers Michael Harrison and Natania Barron, and me, as we wander the convention
Parents worry that their kids spend too much time playing video games, but according to one new study, if you need surgery, you want the surgeon who grew up with a game controller in one hand. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, why the future belongs to gamers. Imagine a world in which whatever you want to know you can learn from a game.
Video games used to be for kids and geeks. Today – just try to find someone who doesn't play at least one electronic game. Electronic games began as entertainment, but they're fast becoming much, much more. Already we use games to teach kids and to train doctors, to meet friends and to wage war. Today – how games could transform the world. British writer and game theorist Tom Chatfield is the author of "Fun, Inc: Why Gaming Will Dominate the 21st Century." He tells Jim Fleming he believes games also have the potential to revolutionize a field that could use a dose of fun – education. Imagine a game the let's you blast imaginary cancer cells – except they're from a real cancer patient, and your game you play may help save her life. That's the future an interdisciplinary team of biologists, education researchers and game designers is working on at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Anne Strainchamps got professors Susan Millar & Kurt Squire to show her a game.
If you've ever played one of the big online multi-player fantasy games – like World of Warcraft or... ., you know that in the beginning, there's a certain amount of drudge work. But you can cheat and get someone else to do it for you. Cory Doctorow has written a novel about it, called "For the Win," and tells Anne Strainchamps about gold-farming, and why people do it. Commentator Aubrey Ralph understands the pleasure of it. He explains his enthusiasm for the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA. Ethan Gilsdorf also understands. He is the author of "Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks" and tells Steve Paulson it began for him when he was 12.
Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff says the writing's on the wall: in the future, you can either make the software... or you can BE the software. Rushkoff has a new book – Program or Be Programmed. It opens with a story he told Anne Strainchamps – about a recent visit to an Air Force general.
CD copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 11-02-13-A.
What happens when our fantasies collide with reality? This week, we turn it over to the beautiful dreamers... and the hard-nosed realists... and everyone in between.
Read on to find out who's on the show, get links to our guests, and see this week's music playlist. You can also listen to the podcast by clicking the player below (or download it from our website, or get the chaptered "enhanced" version from iTunes).
>Dr. Ronald Mallett - respected physicist, professor, and a man with a dream: unlocking the secrets of time travel.
>award-winning writer and essayist Adam Gopnik. He'll tell us what the fantastical world of Charlie Ravioli taught him about his own life.
>So kids have an active fantasy life... but why are adults so much more reluctant to talk about their imaginary worlds? Host Sook-Yin takes her mic to the street to find out.
>"Geeks," "nerds," "fanboys" - call them what you will, they're often accused of using fantasy to escape the real world. Journalist Ethan Gilsdorf wanted to get to the bottom of "geek culture" - so he set off on a quest to talk with geeks from all walks of life. It's a journey he chronicles in his book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms. But the catch is, Ethan wasn't just a casual observer... he is a self-professed geek. He'll tell us what he learned about the culture - and himself - on his quest.Lots of people have a "rock star" fantasy - but Sara Quinn, of Tegan and Sara, is living the dream. She'll tell us about the reality of rock n' roll fantasy, and what happened when she got to live out one of her own fantasies.
>But sometimes, their fantasy lives can cause trouble in the real world. Diane Flacks has dealt with this herself.
>After training as an opera singer in Montreal, and spending time immersed in the opera world of New York, Bremner Duthie packed up his bags and headed to Europe to become a star. Using Paris as his home base, Bremner headed to London for a few months to look for work in musical theatre. Things got off to a slow start, until one afternoon when he was scheduled to audition for a certain Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber...
>Lots of people fantasize that a whole new "you" is as easy as getting on a plane and travelling to a whole new country. But as a nine-year old, Habiba Nosheen discovered reality is waiting for you wherever you touch down...
>Holly Luhning spends a lot of her time in that strange space where our fantasy worlds and our real worlds overlap. Holly is a scholar and a writer, and she's just published her first novel - a psychological thriller called Quiver.
>Growing up in small-town Saskatchewan in the 1940s, Jean Freeman discovered the world of pen pals, which really set her imagination on fire... and opened the door to a complicated fantasy world.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WRNI) - For role players, gamers and sci-fi fans alike, the term geek doesn't have the same sting it used to. In fact, many are now embracing that very term. You can include authors Ethan Gilsdorf and Tony Pacitti on that list. They'll both be panelists tonight in Providence for R2-D20, and Evening of Sci-Fi Fandom and Fantasy Gaming Geekery. WRNI's Elisabeth Harrison spoke to the two authors about the event.