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Video Games As Community-Building Tool

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Video Games As Community-Building Tool

Video Games As Community-Building Tool

Video Games As Community-Building Tool

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Omar Gallaga, technology reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, talks about the emergence of video games that encourage social interaction and build community.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And Omar, as Bilal was told there, and as I gather, this is no longer about shut-ins alone in the room. It's a social activity, playing a game like that.

Mr. OMAR GALLAGA (Technology Culture Writer, Austin American-Statesman): (Laughing) Right. The current wave of games, especially on the Nintendo Wii, kind of signaled this shift to this living room Renaissance of social gaming. Gamers have always gotten together to play in groups, you know, fighting games, football games. But these are games that are easier to pick up and play and more fun to play in the group.

And even if you don't have a group of friends to play with, you can play most of these games online. A few months ago, I played "Rock Band" with my college roommate, who I hadn't seen in ten years. I played drums and he did vocals on "Tangled Up in Blue," even though we were in different states. We chatted over our Xbox headsets, and it was like we were in the same room.

SIEGEL: So, where can we expect this social gaming trend to go next?

Mr. GALLAGA: Well, a lot of it is online. Virtual worlds are continuing to expand. But really, everyone's looking at Nintendo and seeing, you know, where can we go from there - with motion controllers, with controlling games with gestures. They were going to see a move away from standard controllers and keyboards and mice and more toward a more virtual, you know, stand up and play experience. Also 3-D, I think, is going to be a big trend in gaming. We're starting to see that in theaters. That technology is going to come home and we're going to start seeing more games in 3-D that you'll be able to play on your HDTV.

SIEGEL: Well, Omar, thanks, as always, for bringing us up to speed.

Mr. GALLAGA: Thanks for having me, Robert.

SIEGEL: That is Omar Gallaga, who covers technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman.

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