Those hours spent along building games or playing them in your basement? They may not be so bad. Videogames have always received a bad wrap for being antisocial, but in a new essay echoing Jonathan Rauch’s famous 2003 defense of introverts from the Atlantic, Vanessa Quirk argues that being and building alone isn’t so bad. Quirk outlines the current state of affairs:
The paradigm of the extrovert has become so accepted, that most people aren’t aware of its reach – or how our architecture has developed to meet its demands. David Riesman, in his book The Lonely Crowd, suggests that “the dominant economic model of each era in a sense ‘creates’—or privileges—the character type that’s best suited to it.” As our economy becomes more and more consumer-oriented, and strays further and further from its product-oriented beginnings (the agriculture and industry businesses), being outgoing becomes a necessary and valued commodity.
Playing together has certainly been the biggest trend in games over the past few years — the emergence of “social games,” party-driven titles like Dance Central, and online services like Xbox Live. All of these push players into interactions with each other. Some would argue (myself included) that games by definition are social and that there have only been two single-player games throughout their history: solitaire and golf. Videogames were anomalous in that you no longer needed another human to play them. But Quirk takes a separate tack, advancing that time spent alone is time well spent:
I am suggesting that we have swung the pendulum too far in the extrovert direction. If we just let introverts do what they do best – contemplate deeply, away from the crowd, free from the necessities of small talk and the expectations of saying, well, anything – they could then contribute to our society a profound kind of creativity untouched by the perils of groupthink.
The entire essay is worth a read as she hones her sights on education, but keep an eye out for the implicit connection to games. With the emergence of small or single man teams building games, perhaps that isolated future isn’t so bad after all.
[via Arch Daily]