Steve Jobs on The Real-Life Application of Video Games (1990)

“I remember the video game phenomenon, probably all of you do too. The most interesting thing about the video game phenomenon to me was that within a few years after its beginning, kids and non-kids were putting two-and-a-half billion dollars worth of quarters into these things a year. You can look at these things as games and dismiss them. Or you can look at them as very simple simulated learning environments. So, as an example, in a simple pong game, the game is constantly telling you how well you’re doing by how well you score. And so the more you learn the underlying principles, the better you score. The underlying principle in the case of most of these games was fairly simple, but carry that concept much further: imagine if the underlying principles are a sophisticated macroeconomic model of how France might’ve functioned in the time of Louis XIV. This type of simulation then becomes a little less trivial than the video game, and yet the principles are still the same. And you can imagine what it would be like if we could use the historical material in the Library of Congress coupled with the interactive computer technology that we’re developing to do these things. These simulations would become what most of our students are learning from.”