The Anthill

Anthill 13: All the world’s a game

On this month’s episode of The Anthill we are playing games – computer games, grammar games and real life games too. We speak to a researcher who’s fascinated by what happens to people who turn game playing into a career. And we’ll look at whether we can make education more engaging by turning it into a competition.

First we talk to an expert in game theory. Abhinay Muthoo is an economist at the University of Warwick who specialises in one of game theory’s key concerns: bargaining. He spoke to Anthill producer Annabel Bligh about how to best negotiate a better salary – it’s all about emphasising your market value. He also has some sage advice on how to apply game theory to your love life. According to Abhinay, all the world’s a game and if we study game theory we can achieve better outcomes in life.

Next up, education editor Holly Squire investigates how games are increasingly being used in classrooms. Jacob Habgood, games designer at Sheffield Hallam University explains the rise in game-based learning and how to make them as effective as possible. Holly also talks to Rowena Kasprowicz at the University of York and has a go at a French grammar game she is designing to help with language learning in primary schools. But is there a darker side to this? Carlo Perrota warns about the addictive nature of games and the need to protect against it.

From games in the classroom, we then graduate to the workplace. The Conversation editor, Emily Brown, takes a dive into the world of competitive eSports. It’s a fast-growing and lucrative market that had a global audience of some 320m people and revenues of £400m in 2016. She discusses what it’s like for the players whose careers are spent fighting for a slice of this pie with Tom Brock, a sociologist at Manchester Metropolitan University. He explains that there is research to show both benefits and negatives to life as a professional gamer.

You can read more about the use of gaming in education in our new series here.


Click here to listen to more episodes of The Anthill, on themes including The Future, Waste and Self-experimentation.

The Anthill theme music is by Alex Grey for Melody Loops.

A big thanks to City University London’s Department of Journalism for letting us use their studios to record The Anthill.