Games 'have arrived as a mass medium' - Al Gore

Former Vice President voices support for socially conscious titles during Games for Change keynote address.

For years, former Vice President Al Gore has been an outspoken advocate for curbing climate change. He has also dabbled in established media, heading up the youth-oriented cable news channel Current TV.

Al Gore is a backer of games as a "mass medium."

Now, the ex-executive is championing a new form of media: games. Today at the 2011 Games for Change Festival at New York University (as relayed by industry site Gamasutra), Gore delivered a speech, which, contrary to many politicians, celebrated games as a form of expression.

"Games have clearly arrived as a mass medium," Gore said. "This is a very large, extremely significant industry with a wildly diverse and rapidly growing audience of players on all kinds of platforms. We already know the immense power of popular media to illuminate issues that can seem intractable and overly complex, but [through games] can be illuminated and presented to general audiences in a way that invites people to become involved in trying to solve the problems that our society has to solve."

Gore praised socially conscious social games in particular, singling out two FarmVille-like Facebook titles for praise. "It has been very exciting to me to see so many ideas that integrate social good and efforts to make the world a better place into games. … I've been encouraged by recent developments like Trash Tycoon and Oceanopolis, and both have spurred my thinking in this area," he said.

Gore also took a moment to praise Sims creator Will Wright's latest project, the interactive series Bar Karma, which airs on Current TV.

"The aficionados of the games were drawn to create storylines around the games, and [Wright] took that and created a unique piece of software that allows people to create 'story genomes' and then vote on the path the plot takes," said Gore. "Each week, the results of the user votes are given to a production team to develop live programs. It's been very interesting and award winning, and it's been great to get to know Will."

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Discussion

317 comments
ebookerd1
ebookerd1

@Frame_Dragger sorry dude maybe I did

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

@NotJackieChan opinion are their opinions. It was a rhetorical statement.as in stating "it is, what it is." I am not sure if you were going someone where with that one. But what ever. overall dude likes game what ever... I like games too.. moving on...

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

@Frame_Dragger well i am pretty sure you are happy you didn't vote for him. because. He is obviously dumber than the guy we had in office at the time.... or maybe not. Honestly, If your getting fired up over a guy using games as propaganda I am a little concerned. It's not like he can see Russian from his house. LOL... sense of humor If someone believes different from you should try to be a little more understanding. As a voter be smart and don't vote for him. We all need more people like Bush in Office. LMAO!!!!! :)

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

@fillup0 very true but he isn't trying to boycott them and I think that counts. I don't seen anyone complaining about the army using games as training sims... But I digress I won't hat the man for thinking for him self. I don't agree with him. but I refuse to overall bash someone that thinks something I like isn't bad. I know he wants to try to use it to his advantage. Go for it if it sucks I won't play it jokes on him for thinking we are stupid. I would like to think you agree with that am I correct?

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

I heard that he is now prestige 4 at COD,...

N0tYrBeezin
N0tYrBeezin

So is Al Gore claiming that the created the video gaming industry now?

Davo-C
Davo-C

But does he get a happy ending?

LOWJ000
LOWJ000

Thank god he didnt praise farmville though, I dont think a game enslaving you to pickin' cotton (ok all kind of produce) is quite a good idea!!!

joeborg14
joeborg14

"I invented video games." - Al Gore

Hatemachine25
Hatemachine25

I think we have a new Disease on our hands, Goreitosis, the effect where one is compelled to lie, fabricate or alter one's own history and achievements to look less like an A$$hole. Wait nvm there called politicians, and that's already a Disease, move along people move along, nothing to see here.

SLRMC93
SLRMC93

I think he just wants a game made about Manbearpig.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

@twyz He probably does. I doubt the fricker invented the internet by the way. I don't trust him.

LtReviews
LtReviews

I just feel sorry for him... I don't think he has that many friends :)

ptown58
ptown58

Until he publicly condemns his wife's crusade in the 90's I care not what this guy says, though any positive words towards gaming is a plus.

Sgthombre
Sgthombre

In other words:"I, Al Gore, have a high opinion of video games as long as they suit my purposes." FYI, Al: Polar Bears aren't going extinct. You're wrong. Sorry.

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Well glad to get that validation from good ole Al...now he can go back to doing more important stuff like inventing the internet.

KillerWabbit23
KillerWabbit23

Or, more specifically, Call of Duty has arrived as a mass medium.

santiagorf12
santiagorf12

he accepted the nobel price because he made a power point documentary about global warming though he was vice president of an administration in which period the CO_2 emission skyrocketed. a real charlatan

deathman023
deathman023

You know regardless of Al Gore's opinion games have been a mass medium ever since individual titles started selling in the millions. I respect his opinion on climate change, and it's always good to raise awareness and get the message out there, but I'd rather he keep out of things he has no experience with.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

Al Gore, you should try this game Tetris. It's pretty revolutionary. But you're right, farmville is way more worthy of praise.

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

Welcome to 10 years ago al.. nice to see your keeping up

mustained13
mustained13

After the speech, Al snuck out of the festival, jumped in his 1979 Firebird and cruised town with Dee Snider.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

@Frame_Dragger - You're right in that you can't control how everyone's going to react, and when I'm speaking of brainwashing/control, it's more about pervasive influence, rather than people walking around as literal zombies (though looking around these days, I wouldn't dismiss the latter, lol). Not just influence through pop culture like we see with kids and MTV, but also controlling the information people have in the news so they aren't able to properly use their own judgement to form different opinions, as they might if given all the details. And all the 'noise factor' of different politicians arguing this or that is just that - noise. I agree there is no 'total control' - you and I wouldn't even be discussing this if there was. That is one reason the internet isn't popular with these people who have agendas - too much free discussion and sharing of information. But there is certainly an agenda of trying to brainwash the vast majority into behaving in a particular way and having particular views - the content children are consuming and emulating these days, and the parents' tolerance of it, is a good example of the success of this. Indoctrinate them when they're young.

barnold81
barnold81

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

barnold81
barnold81

I remember making Carnivorous Plants the sentient creatures in Sim Earth. I wonder what Al Gore would think of THAT!

twyz
twyz

Gore probably thinks video games were his idea.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

@inaka_rob So stop playing games then.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

games have become pop culture, and have suffered and are suffering because of it. It used to be about nerdy dudes like John Carmack and Tim Shafer making cool games. Now the industry is over run with companies who just want to make big cash. They don't care about the game or the customer at all. I know its a buisniss but thats ALL it is now. Its no longer nerds making games for nerds.

Rovelius
Rovelius

So, he praises the social crap and Sims and won't mention SONY or Ninty?

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

@Frame_Dragger - Sure. One example is people automatically buying what they're told by politicians in the news media, believing that if it's reported in the news, then it must be true! People don't even think to question things any more. Alas, times have changed, and journalists report what they're told to on sensitive issues or they're quickly 'let go'. If you're interested in how brainwashing works in Hollywood, advertising, etc., do a search and there should be some YouTube videos that can start you off.But if you're looking for a link to a news article from Time or something, you're not going to get one because they won't honestly report this, as it's not to their advantage to do so. Gore likes games as a platform for indoctrination because a lot of young people play them, and he knows it's another great tool to bring about certain beliefs in people - school and movies are another couple of favourites.For example, the values in movies and school these days are very different to what they were in the 40's and 50's, and this was purposefully crafted. Popular media influences (brainwashes) children and adults in their personal views and morals. Look at all the young children being influenced by MTV and other pop culture in the way they dress, behave, etc. There's 4 paragraphs for you.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

@Frame_Dragger Don't underestimate the mind control that is constantly bombarding us on a daily basis. They want people to drink the Kool-Aid and think everything is fine and dandy, but brainwashing is a constant in our lives these days. Advertisements use subtle brainwashing that influences people to buy certain products, want certain foods, etc., and make no mistake, the brainwashing that takes place in the media (and Hollywood entertainment) to influence us in political views is far better planned and even more insidious.

bignick217
bignick217

@Frame_Dragger I can agree with that. I was only disputing a narrow viewpoint as it was one of those typical viewpoints that unfairly stereotypes video games as happens way too often. My refuting of his comment was warranted. But yes, I do agree with your statement.

smwat
smwat

Manbearpig!?

bignick217
bignick217

@strayfies Try not to look at what Al Gore is saying from too narrow a viewpoint. He's not talking about what most games support (and I also see a fallacy in that statement as well), but rather, he's talking about what games "can" be used to express, because games are a form of art and expression. There are a lot more games out there than the narrow selection of overly advertised cookie cutter games we are constantly bombarded with by the major publishers. Games can be very artistic and thought provoking. The hard part these days is finding them. Final Fantasy was a good example before Square lost Hironobu Sakaguchi where, yes there was violence, but the true brilliance of the game was the underlying story with a moral to find. Just look at final fantasy X and how many religious people it angered. Or what about the Civilization series. Not for the story, but rather a game that has violence, but the best way to beat the game is not by destroying everyone around you, but rather by building a strong successful civilization. I've been playing Civ 5 on multiplayer lately and I have yet to see a domination victory. I myself have only won via the culture, tech and diplomatic victories. Or look at Bioshock... Forget the whole choosing to save or harvest the little girls aspect. But instead look at the underlying story. How a utopian society can crumble to ruin because of greed and corruption. There's a lot more to it than that, but that's my abbreviation for this post.

bignick217
bignick217

There are so many ideas games can express and have done so for decades. Sadly many of the absolutely brilliant games are becoming harder and harder to find because endless stream of call of duty's and other cookie cutter sequels, spinoffs and clones of the same games over and over again. Think about the comercials you've seen lately. How many ads have you seen for call of duty and duke nukem. Now, how many have you seen for games like The Witcher 2. How many ads did you see for Civ 5 when it came out. I didn't see any and it was one of the best games last year. And there are plenty of games out there that have no violence in them at all without having to drop down to games designed for 6 year old's. You just have to know where to look and broaden your gaming horizon. Like I said, he's not talking about what most games have in them, but instead what games "can" be used to express. Nothing more. Nothing less.

strayfies
strayfies

I don't know that Al Gore is aware of most games and the morality they DO support, or that Al Gore should be the voice of morality in the first place.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

At least he's willing to admit it. Not like Roger Ebert, who still thinks games are for uncultured bourgeois.

SlowMotionKarma
SlowMotionKarma

"Games have clearly arrived as a mass medium," Gore said. To quote Hans Moleman, "That's what I've been TRYING to TELL YOU!"

akdiuuuryttt
akdiuuuryttt

im not trying to be a "hipster" or w/e its called but i enjoyed gaming before it became REALLY mainstream. a lot of games are trying to be just like CoD with kill streaks and perks. also look at MMORPGS, every single one you is adding a cross realm dungeon finder where you will just queue and wait in a main city. what happened to quality

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

He's just wanting to use games as a form of mind control for indoctrinating people, like what Hollywood trash does today.

Blue-Sky
Blue-Sky

You'd be surprise how many politicians still think video games are children toys. So Al Gore's statement isn't as oblivious as it should be.

marvel456
marvel456

The word 'duh' came to my mind when reading that article title.