7 TED Talks About Video Games You Have To Watch

October 30, 2014

With the explosion of video gaming into the mainstream in recent years, it naturally follows that a greater number of people are looking to learn the intricacies of game design and craft their own creations. Unfortunately it’s not a medium with the easiest learning curve.

Attending game design school is the quickest and most efficient way of getting up to speed, but there is also a lot of supplementary material which can serve to both inspire and educate. Arguably, the best source TED talks, which feature some of the greatest thinkers in the video game industry.

With this in mind, we’re proud to present…

The Top 7 Ted Talks About Video Games

Stuart Brown: Play is More Than Fun

Who: A leading researcher on the effects on how play affects the psyche and childhood development.

What: Brown’s clinical expertise on the topic, combined with both hard-figures as well as human annecdotes, makes for a very compelling talk on why playing is so important in psychology.

Why: Although not strictly related to video gaming, the concept of ‘play’ is inherently linked, and Brown’s take on the topic provides a lot of relevance to those who both create and play games.

Jane McGonigal: Gaming Can Make a Better World

Who: Game designer, writer, and expert on gamification.

What: Can online MMOs be used to save the real world? That’s the question McGonigal sets out to answer in one of the most high-reaching TED talks about video games ever released.

Why: Jane McGonigal’s claims are big, bold, and full of intriguing possibilities. Her other TED talk is well worth a watch too.

David Perry: Will Video Games Become Better Than Real Life?

Who: Northern Irish video game designer behind Earthworm Jim and MDK among others.

What: A natural flow-on talk from Jane McGonigal’s, David Perry takes a look at where trends in video games are likely to lead us as we move into the next generation of gaming experiences.

Why: A very good reason to watch Perry’s TED talk about video games is that he delivered it in 2008 . The retrospective aspect makes it even more interesting given that a lot of his predictions have since come to pass.

Brenda Laurel on Making Games for Girls

Who: Founder of Purple Moon, the first US publisher to make games aimed towards females aged 8-14.

What: Laurel’s talk on addressing the wants of younger female gamers came at a time in which the entire industry was ignoring this entire demographic. And her discussion of the challenges therein make for fascinating viewing.

Why: One of the earliest TED talks on video gaming. Like Perry’s talk, this has only gained in relevance since it was put out in 1998 (especially given the recent developments in the feminism and video gaming spheres).

Mitch Resnick: Let’s Teach Kids to Code

Who: Director at the MIT Media Lab and creator of Scratch, a programming language aimed at children.

What: Very much what it says on the tin: Resnick is a leading educator in IT and speaks from experience on the topic of both how and why kids should be taught to code in the school setting.

Why: Although the intake of students into game design schools is on the rise, programming tuition below college level is still lackluster at best. Resnick makes an exceptionally strong case for change.

Gabe Zickermann: How Gaming Makes Kids Smarter

Who: CEO of Gamification Co and author on the topic of gamification.

What: Zickermann manages to dispel a lot of myths regarding children playing video games in just 17 minutes, and also lays out a series of positives which gaming has been proven to deliver.

Why: The next time someone claims that video games make kids lazy or disinterested in real life, you’ll be able to counter them with the info provided in Zickermann’s TED talk.

Ryan & Cassandra Creighton

Who: A five-year-old artist and her coding father, who created Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure together.

What: Using the aforementioned Scratch programming language (mentioned in Mitch Resnick’s TED talks on video gaming), this father and daughter duo bonded together over a video game collaboration which ended up inspiring a lot of people.

Why: There are a lot of TED talks about video games which educate, innovate, and ask big questions. There are very few which will make your heart melt like this one.