Lately I've been wondering if it's possible to design a game that helps make the world a better place in some way. It's been bugging me that games are such a waste of time. For the most part they are pure entertainment. I can watch some movies and get personal inspiration or thought provoking ideas. I can read a book and learn stuff. I can do some physical activity and make my body more fit but when it comes to games, most of them really don't add much to the world or improve the player in any real world way.
While I think everyone should be able to choose how they want to spend their lives it still sometimes saddens me all the time spent playing games in the context of how that time could have been spent on something productive. In fact it's bleeding over into my own enjoyment were often I feel guiltly for wasting time playing. 80 hours playing some RPG is enough to develop a whole new BBS system or Blog system or other web service. If I broke that 80 hours into 160 30 minute workout sessions I'd be fit instead of 20lbs overweight.
So, I've been wanting to brainstorm and see if we can come up with some ideas that might actually both be popular and have a basically positive influence on people. For example Brain Training for the DS might have some positive value. It is helping people excersize their minds more than say Quake 4 (well, maybe not, you do have to be pretty alert playing an FPS)
I suppose some games like Spore or Civ or Sim City might give people thoughts about how evolution or war or how hard it is to govern on par with what some movies or books can do.
Like that puzzle that says "here's a duck, 3 sticks and a book of matches...go design a game", how about "design a game that is both fun and not a complete waste of time".
...please don't go defending games....that's not the point of this post and please don't get nitpicky and say they are not a waste of time because of hand−eye cooridnation or the ability to earn a living in Second Life. Or that entertainment itself is a good enough goal. I can agree with all of that. My point is try for something more.
If anything comes to mind post it below.