Back this morning from an excellent evening hosted by Toshiba listening to Bruno Beusch, managing director of gamehotel. He gave a talk about how games were becoming increasingly pervasive and was quite persuasive; the thing that really caught my attention, however, was the idea that game makers would be able to run the world's finances better than the bankers have done.
OK, we'll take all the gags about how a trained hamster or three could make a better job of it than the bankers have managed lately as read. And we'll assume, rightly, that the only people coming up with this particular theory at the moment are game creators themselves, who are therefore not entirely unbiased.
The theory runs that game writers understand how people behave and they make their games work accordingly. There is a psychological concept called 'flow', which is when someone is totally immersed in their activity, and that's what gamers aim for. There is equally an idea that if someone is immersed in a system they will test its limits, whether it's a child trying to do things their parents wouldn't like and seeing whether they get away with it, or a gamer seeing whether they can hit the 'side' of a scene of a game so they can't go any further.
Or indeed, according to the game people, they'll test an environment like the banking sector and see - subconsciously by all means - if they can break it. The game writers understand this, runs the theory, so would build in tolerances and get-outs. The financiers didn't.
Personally I suspect everhone can have a theory about just what went wrong and it's no use blaming any one thing. And I'm not sure about recreating the banking sector as one big game. But it's an interesting theory nonetheless.