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The Most Entertaining Way To Learn About Economics?

video game economics

An often overlooked and interesting fact is that the underlying premise of many video games that utilize some sort of monetary economy in their plot, might actually be helping people understand economic concepts, especially those involved with cryptocurrency. 

Crypto YouTuber and programmer Ivan on Tech said in a March 28th video that as a kid he played a lot of RuneScape. This medieval era game set in a fantasy environment allows players to interact with others live, complete quests, battle, as well as trading, buying and selling an array of tools and materials.

Runescape has its own economy and players get a lot of experience learning about economic principles when they play the games as kids. Ivan credits this game by teaching him his first market mechanics.

RuneScape Teaches Flipping Of Crypto Assets

Part of the RuneScape economy is the ability to sell and trade thousands of fake, digital items such as steel, water, told, grapes, and lots of other materials. Clicking each item brings up a stock-like chart. It shows the asset’s price and worth over a period of time within the context of the game. Some of the items showed volatility, much like that seen with cryptocurrency.

Ivan gave oak logs as an example. Up until December 2019, oak logs in RuneScape’s economy had a bull market, but since have entered a bear market.

Pump And Dump Concepts

Ivan also credits RuneScape for teaching him about the concept of a pump and dumps. This a morally ambiguous method of propping up a value of an asset through deceptive tactics, then dumping it on hopeful buyers, while the prices plummet. 

His first experience of being dumped upon happened in RuneScape, but it has taught him a valuable lesson in being able to recognize when traders and investors are gearing up to perform this in the crypto market and to stay clear of them.

Other Market Familiarity Teaching Games

There are other games that teach economic principles through active participation. A virtual world game called Second Life employs the currency of “Linden Dollars”, a simulated currency that players can acquire more of with actual US dollars.

Even World of Warcraft holds an internal economy in some way reminiscent of RuneScape. There, some players try to sell virtual items for actual hard cash.

Cryptocurrency ties into gaming even more, as it allows a tie in between real-world economics and that in video games to blur the lines a bit by channeling in-game currency into the real world for sale and trade, and allow a transfer of items between players. 



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