Segments in this Video

Art and Science (04:22)


Games can be reduced to their perceived efficacy for solving human problem; this is akin to conflating cuisine with nutrition. By appreciating aesthetics for their own sake, scientists can better understand play and human potential.

Play Therapy (03:45)

John Krakauer’s team has designed a therapy game for neurologically disordered patients that doubles as a research tool. The difference between cognition and motor skills is negligible at the neurological level.

Zimmerman’s Background (05:09)

Eric Zimmerman’s portfolio is extensive after designing games for the past 20 years. Teaching game design is an opportunity to bridge science and humanities fields.

Zimmerman’s Work (04:16)

Eric Zimmerman has designed large-scale interactive games for the Museum of Modern Art and co-founded the Institute of Play in New York City. Conflict is an intrinsic part of gaming.

Focus on Movement (03:15)

Humans are obsessed with watching and experience movement. Gaming is a new way to understand and exploit our desire to be in motion.

Cognitive Effects (04:35)

Research into rats and barn owls confirms that challenge is pleasurable and stimulates learning mechanisms. Specified gaming does not have a far transfer effect compared to games that children play.

Gaming Therapy (04:29)

A simulated dolphin game may provide physical therapy for patients with brain injuries. A graduate student tests the game (not shown) while Krakauer describes high-level intention.

Gaming and Therapeutic Benefits (06:28)

Hear audio of stroke victims working with a therapeutic game; they had powerful experiences. A team of artists and software architects created a smartly designed game.

Gaming Immersion (04:08)

Game players experience identification and comprehension on multiple levels. Similarly to puppetry, narrative characters are avatars that can be experienced fully while maintaining awareness.

"Five Fingers" (07:36)

Neuroscientists do not understand why humans express genuine emotional response for fictionalized characters. The audience plays a game.

Play and Progress (07:01)

Play and creativity paradoxically emerge out of rule-bound game systems. The idea of play without a progressive imperative is revolutionary.

Reward Circuitry (07:49)

Neuroscientists are limited in their understanding of reward, punishment, and behavior. Early studies show that motivation and rewards enhance performance without rote practice.

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Is Life a Game?

Part of the Series : Brainwave: Attachment Trap
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This video is an interactive conversation with the audience on the cognitive, aesthetic, and cultural aspects of games as a tool for better understanding how we interact with our senses and the world we live in. Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and academic who has been working in the game industry for more than 20 years; he is also an Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center. John Krakauer is currently a Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and Director of the Brain, Learning, Animation, and Movement Lab at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He has also co-founded two video gaming groups called Max and Haley, and KATA, which are based on the idea that animal movement based on real physics is highly pleasurable and that this pleasure is hugely heightened when the animal movement is under the control of our own movements.

Length: 64 minutes

Item#: BVL143665

ISBN: 978-1-64198-386-0

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.