The MTV Multiplayer Blog has a great interview with Jonathan Blow, designer of the upcoming game Braid:
There are things you understand very well because you learned them via activities you do all the time. Let’s say, driving a car … There’s a certain feel to what it’s like driving a car, how things accelerate and slow down, how that feels, how turning happens, what the higher-level flow is as traffic lights go green or red, etc… I could write a whole novel full of words about what it feels like to drive a car with 10 years of experience, but those words wouldn’t be very effective at really communicating what it’s like to someone who never did it. It’s just something you have to do. I am going to call this intimate state of familiarity driving-ness, and apply it to other things…
Imagine a future where you have that driving-ness experience for a whole wealth of things — geopolitical negotiations, or marital infidelity and deceit, or calculus. And you didn’t get that by running a bunch of tedious programs in school, but rather, by engaging in activities created by skilled authors, that were compelling in their own right? If everyone had the same intimate understanding of propaganda dissemination as they do of the way buddy cops interact in buddy cop films, would we be at war in Iraq? Who would be President of the USA right now? etc.
This is part of the reason why I feel games can be important. Should be important.
Blow makes many other interesting points, so go read.