A visionary game designer reveals how we can harness the power of games to boost global happiness. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (th ed.) by Jane McGonigal. Read online, or download in secure EPUB . But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games. Jane McGonigal is also the author of SuperBetter: A.
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“Reality Is Broken is the most eye-opening book I read this year. . Reality is broken: why games make us better and how they can change the world / Jane. Editorial Reviews. terney.info Review. Practical Advice for Gamers by Jane McGonigal eBook features: Highlight, take notes, and search in the book; Length: pages; Word Wise: Enabled; Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled; Page Flip: Enabled. Reality is broken ebook. A visionary game designer reveals how we can harness the power of games to boost global happiness. But why, Jane McGonigal asks.
Ernest Cline. Free Will. Sam Harris. The Tools. Phil Stutz. The Heart Goes Last. Margaret Atwood. The Signal and the Noise. Nate Silver. Chris Guillebeau. How to Create a Mind. Ray Kurzweil. The Righteous Mind. Jonathan Haidt. Haruki Murakami. A Whole New Mind. The Hidden Reality. Brian Greene. Claire North. Marie Kondo. The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
Patrick Rothfuss. Reza Aslan. Rainbow Rowell. The Shallows: Nicholas Carr. Moonwalking with Einstein. Joshua Foer. The Singularity Is Near. Kim Stanley Robinson. David and Goliath.
Malcolm Gladwell. At Home. Bill Bryson. Why Nations Fail. Daron Acemoglu. Made to Stick. Robert McKee. Ready Player One. Super Sad True Love Story. Gary Shteyngart. Robert B Cialdini PhD. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Jason Fried. Neal Stephenson. The Last Werewolf. Glen Duncan. Elon Musk. Ashlee Vance. Ancillary Justice.
Ann Leckie. John Scalzi. The Diamond Age. The Social Animal. David Brooks. The Orphan Master's Son. Adam Johnson. The Black Swan: Second Edition. Homo Deus. Yuval Noah Harari. The Grand Design. Stephen Hawking. The Power of Habit. Charles Duhigg.
Lean In. Sheryl Sandberg. The Three-Body Problem. Cixin Liu. Rewire Your Brain. John B. The Lean Startup. Eric Ries. The Psychopath Test. Jon Ronson. The Windup Girl. Paolo Bacigalupi. Travels in the New Third World. Michael Lewis. What the Dog Saw. The Circle.
Dave Eggers. Station Eleven. Emily St. John Mandel. Susan Cain. Penumbra's Hour Bookstore. Robin Sloan. Thinking, Fast and Slow. Daniel Kahneman. Career of Evil. Robert Galbraith. The Magician King. Lev Grossman. The Player of Games. She presents these numbers and how the numbers have been discussed by the Halo "community" as an example of how gaming draws people together.
She then quotes a Halo aficionado who stated in an online thread that the ultimate experience would involve all of the earth's inhabitants playing Halo together. McGonigal heartily agrees with the quoted gamer and takes his idea a step further. Wouldn't such a shared global experience, she posits, bond the human race in an unprecedented and positive way? While I agree that such an event would be unprecedented, my response to her idea of such a happening being positive was resoundingly, no.
The situation brings nothing to mind as much as the dystopian genre of literature and film. McGonigal doesn't offer an explanation as to why such an event as universal participation in a shooter would improve human relations--she just assumes that is the case. Such assumptive posturing characterizes the text. For me, the great irony in reading this book has been my attitude to gaming. As I said, I've been playing video games my entire life.
Reading McGonigal's book and picking apart her weak assertions that games make people better has forced me to reconsider why I game. I do not believe that I am smarter, more social, or healthier for playing games all of which McGonigal asserts are benefits.
I do believe that gaming has sometimes made me happier which she of course points out. I also believe that I've occasionally gamed excessively and been unhappy as a result which she glosses over.
As a result of reading Reality Is Broken , I have decided to spend less time gaming and more time on living effectively in the real world. Thank you, Jane McGonigal. View all 3 comments. As I said in my review of Grand Theft Childhood: He doesn't get as much time on the PSP as his older brother because his school forbids it even at recess, so he came up with a different way to entertain himself: He's drawn maps, mazes, codes for weapons, and score cards for any o As I said in my review of Grand Theft Childhood: He's drawn maps, mazes, codes for weapons, and score cards for any of his classmates who care to play.
I suppose some parents might consider that worrisome, but I'm proud of his creativity. He says he wants to design games for a living when he grows up. So when I heard a radio interview with the author of this book, herself a professional game designer, I knew I had to look into it.
The radio interviewer was skeptical of her thesis that games can fix the world, as was Steven Colbert, who also interviewed her. And every GR review I read warned me to take the book with a grain of salt, but - bad pun alert - I was still game. For one thing, the idea that we can solve problems through play is easy for me to accept. Little kids learn and grow through play, so why not adults? But the "improve the world" theme was really a secondary motivation for me in reading this book.
I was reading to learn how to use my son's 1 interest to help improve his life. The radio show on which I first heard the interview offered the book's introduction for free on its website, so I printed it out, read it, and then read it aloud to my son.
It included an interesting story: It became national policy to eat one day and play the game the next. In other words, the Greeks used the game as a deliberate distraction from the pain of reality.
Interestingly, my son showed about as much skepticism about this story as the interviewers and GR reviewers did about the book overall. The author herself said the story might be apocryphal, but it did illustrate the positive use of a game. As was also pointed out in Grand Theft Childhood , distraction through games can be good for mental health.
The trick, of course, is not to overdo it. I liked the introduction, so I got hold of the book, and found it equally interesting and readable, though, as was said by another GR reviewer, the author does come across as too much of a cheerleader sometimes. Early on, there was another "game theory" discussion which I also read aloud to my son, including the definition: But for me, the middle is where it really took off; that's when she began describing the reality-based, save-the-world games.
One of them is a Tetris-like game done with drawings of actual protein molecules. People's solutions to the "puzzle" actually help in cancer research.
Even my PSP-addict was intrigued by that one. But my favorite by far was "Investigate Your MP," in which British citizens sifted through the expense receipts of their Members of Parliament, thereby catching a few in fraud. If they start something like that up in the U. And I hope there's a corporate welfare game to go with it. And therein lies the biggest compliment I can give this book. After reading it, I actually visited the author's website to "join the movement.
So yeah, the author's a cheerleader and I for one got caught up in her message. But other books have caught my interest since, so I guess that enthusiasm, as happens with all books, has gotten dimmed over time. I"m not a gamer, but I am a player of games from sports to board games to game-format lessons for students. Games are fun. Games are motivating. Games in cultures are thousands of years old. This book is about computer and video games.
Video games have a bad rap in the U. The media has bombarded the public over the years about the negative effects of game addiction and violence. Lately, my students have been talking about Minecraft. They make good connections with the picture books I read and I"m not a gamer, but I am a player of games from sports to board games to game-format lessons for students.
They make good connections with the picture books I read and the game all the time. They've piqued my interest, especially when they were talking about architecture and buildings. It is the first time I've wanted to teach myself a video game.
Before that, students have talked about Halo. Before that, World of Warcraft. Video games are here to stay. I picked this book up for a better understanding of the games that my students have passionately discussed over the years. I was not disappointed.
Jane McGonigal gives compelling evidence that good game design connected with theories from positive psychology, cognitive science, philosophy, and sociology, make life more meaningful for gamers. This book gave me ideas for improving some of the current games I've designed for library skill lessons. I took stock of the competitive versus cooperative ones and even how they tie in with character education programs.
McGonigal lists games that enhance kindness and courage citing positive psychology research from the Values in Action Institute on Character. She defines from different sources and subject fields what motivates gamers and how it makes them happier by giving their life more meaning. Don't expect much of the negative side to gaming in this altruistic approach to gaming. Her book is meant to persuade the reader that gaming improves the quality of life, prevents suffering, and creates happiness.
It takes courage to try and prove the world can be changed by gamers and go beyond escapist entertainment. This might be too out-there for some readers, but I was inspired. More importantly, it made me look at the games I use in the library and gave me ideas to create my own. What makes a good game, according to McGonigal, is one that focuses on intrinsic rewards that are emotionally satisfying.
McGonigal quotes a ton of research on what motivates and makes people happy. The main components of good game design are: She cites many examples on how to achieve this through games that address pyschological, social, and emotional issues.
I hadn't thought about how hard obstacles are important to the goal in gamer satisfaction or how failure in a game can be positive versus negative because if the avatar dies spectacularly, the gamer finds it funny. Also, the real-time data in a game shows progress that results in the gamer focusing on the performance, not the outcome. This made me think of how in sports, research shows that top athletes and good coaches get players to focus on performance and not winning which makes their internal talk positive; therefore allowing them to overcome obstacles that occur in games.
McGonigal is trying to prove that games can be a platform for change, but in order for that to happen they need to move from the virtual to the real world. In an amazing statistic, she says that by the time teenagers reach the age of 21 they will have spent 10, hours on gaming versus 2,, hours on reading. The 10, hour threshold is quoted from Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Outliers," that says the key to success is logging in this many hours on a task in order to have great success.
McGonigal says the strength of gamers is working together collectively or "crowdsourcing" and that when harnessed they can accomplish huge tasks such as Wikipedia or the British parliament scandal. She explains how Wikipedia is set up as a game and how they get volunteers and information at scholarly levels; how in eight short years this cognitive technology created a collective wealth of information that would otherwise be unachievable. The British scandal, she explains, involved members of parliament making illegal expense claims and the Guardian newspaper uncovering the story.
The problem was it required the newspaper to go through almost , scanned claim documents. The Guardian created a game and enlisted gamers to help go through the claims. In three days, more than , players analyzed , documents.
All of it was voluntary and resulted in the resignation of many politicians. Games, McGonigal argues, can help the common good and be catalysts for change. McGonigal wants to go beyond entertainment games and create antiescapist or alternate reality games ARGs. ARGs are designed to be linked to intrinsic rewards that bring people the most happiness. Good game design for ARGs, McGonigal explains, gives more meaning in life because it is connected with a much larger goal that helps improve the quality of life and is for the common good of all.
Research shows that people are the most happy when they are serving others and not themselves. ARG games should create satisfying work, inspire hope for success even if the goal seems impossible, and create strong social connections.
She does make it clear that no single ARG exists that is changing the world; however, they are making differences in cancer research, hunger, and energy conservation. ARG's designed to appeal to cognitive, social, and emotional capabilities in humans make them a powerful source of enacting change with the masses. While this book focuses mainly on positive aspects of gaming, it does give bits and pieces of the negative.
Her book tries to counteract cultural taboos associated with the negative aspects of gaming. I would have liked more discussion on both sides of the issue, but I appreciated the inspirational effect of the text that targets positive aspects of gaming. What I did not expect was how her book made me think of ways to teach mundane skills in a more exciting way. If you've ever had to teach kids how to find books using the Dewey Decimal system, it can be unmotivating and boring as all-heck.
I turned it into a board game and kids now ask me if they can play it. I'd like to create a video game that teaches how to shelf books or use Overdrive. It would be so much fun to tie a shelving game in with particular books.
Maybe a student has to shelve Charlotte's Web and if they fail Charlotte can wrap them in a cocoon and put them in the rafters of the barn. McGonigal shows how failing spectacularly is one of the joys of video games. Whether you embrace it or ignore it, video gaming is a huge part of our culture. Game on! View all 6 comments.
I kept reading this book hoping McGonigal would turn out to have written something else. It's all about how and why structured games are so compelling and powerful that we can and should use them to solve real-world problems. Sounds great, right? What I wanted was for her to tell me how to incorporate aspects of gameplay into things we already do, to make them more compelling.
No, instead she swallows her own thesis that, objectively measured, there is nothing more compelling or fulfilling tha I kept reading this book hoping McGonigal would turn out to have written something else.
No, instead she swallows her own thesis that, objectively measured, there is nothing more compelling or fulfilling than a good game, and so what we should do is create new games—explicitly labeled and announced as games—with world problem-solving as their content.
Games today often have content—serious content—that directs our attention to real and urgent problems at hand. We are wrapping real problems inside of games: And through our games, we are inventing new solutions to some of our most pressing human challenges. While she takes pains to include physical sports, both team and individual, strategy games, abstracted contests like chess, and various sorts of individual challenges, her big interest is in massively multiplayer games.
That still doesn't interest me in 1 a limited computer-simulated immersive environment instead of the real physical one; or 2 inventing an identity and having it interact in limited computer-simulated ways with endless strangers' invented identities. But isn't that what you're doing here on Goodreads? And while my identity here is inescapably selective, probably "improved" on reality, it's not a complete fabrication; and the people I interact with are not strangers but friends, in most cases people I already know well in the real physical world.
There's certainly an aspect of gameplay going on here: McGonigal points out that Foursquare does this as a kind of gameplay structure for real-world social interaction, but my experience living in a small town was that it encouraged a small amount of commercial interaction and nothing social since nobody else in town used it.
Still, let's say Goodreads is using gameplay structures to encourage and support the reading and discussion of books: I run for exercise; I play cards to structure social interactions; I do crosswords to challenge my language skills.
Just because something is a game does not make it compelling. If it's already interesting, gamifying it can improve and focus the attraction, sure.
Not wrapping them inside a game see the quote above , but wrapping games inside them. Other than its thesis, McGonigal's book is very loosely written and repetitive down to a "Conclusion" which does nothing but recap the preceding chapters. It's full of interesting stuff which is well-documented in the notes, but it's so in thrall to its thesis—and depends more and more on games McGonigal herself designed and analyzed—that I began to doubt that the other research was being accurately presented.
View 2 comments. Jul 23, William Thomas rated it liked it. This author is an anarchist and doesn't even know it. She's a populist and doesn't even know it.
And she's very close to being bat-shit crazy, but gets a pass because of her mention of Herodotus. You know those people whose entire life is work? And they can't talk about anything besides work? They eat, sleep, breathe their work. And when you try to talk to them, all of their stories and metaphors revolve around their industry and their office stories with a Jonestown-type smile in their face?
Th This author is an anarchist and doesn't even know it. This author is one of those people. This book, which would have been a video game if it were up to the author, is brilliant for it's energy and it's thesis. But even with all of it's upbeat positivity and overwhelming energy, the book does not prove it's thesis, nor does it provide a convincing argument that it's thesis is attainable. And I think that it was her energy and positivity that had me blinded and dumbstruck for the first half of the book.
And then I slowly realized that there were too many flaws to be so enamored. I understand what she's saying. I get it. And I love it. We can use video games to achieve great things.
We can use it to political ends that I personally have always dreamed of. Namely, popular democracy. We can use it to usurp the power of representative democracy and replace it with a bottom-up form of government.
And she uses some staggering statistics to help prove my point. Not her point, but mine. She shows that player participation in online gaming is at a ludicrously high level.
Between games like Halo and WoW, player participation is staggering in it's numbers. And she says we can use this model to increase participation in any real world activity from curing cancer with games like "Folding Proteins" to cleanliness with games like "Chore Wars".
And she tries to explain how to gain participation in real world activities with a mixture of psychology and gaming statistics. But she never really shows us how to cross that bridge between gaming and real life. She doesn't tell us exactly how to connect the two, only gives us "if, then" and a plethora of "maybe we can".
And that's part of what impressed me and mostly what annoyed me. Her positivism has made her blind, but made her relentless. The disconnect is the downfall of the book.
It may show us some games that have real world effects- Folding Proteins allows gamers to aid scientists in literally folding proteins in order to help cure illnesses- but falls short of showing us how her big ideas can come to life. Just because there are 60 million gamers doesn't mean that we have 60 million people trying to cure cancer.
We don't have 60 million people playing Chore Wars. We don't have 60 million people trying to solve the energy crisis or the deficit. And that brings up a whole new question- should we have 60 million people trying to solve these big problems? I'm writing this on my iPhone and my eyes are killing me. To be continued. I find all the negative reviews that are listed for this book to be relatively amusing. It seems glaringly obvious from those who are providing these reviews that they are not part of the million gamers currently residing in the western world.
I also find their conclusions and reasons for disliking this book bizarre and without any definitive specifics for why they disagree with the premise this book is based on.
Resorting to calling the author names like "anarchist,"crazy," and "poor writer I find all the negative reviews that are listed for this book to be relatively amusing. Resorting to calling the author names like "anarchist,"crazy," and "poor writer. That aside, I may not believe that it is possible for Games to make reality better, but I DO agree that games are good for lifting yourself out of depression, changing your point of view and improving your mindset should it be mildly depressive.
I game and I found her statistics enlightening and mildly over-whelming. Anyone who doesn't take the "mass exodus" of more and more people choosing gaming over social interactions seriously are missing the point of what Ms. McGonigal is trying to communicate. It isn't just a book about games, gamers or how games can "fix" everything. It's a wake-up call to society in general that current and future generations are spending more and more time playing games which will ultimately damage our communities.
It is a book about happiness and that gaming provides happiness to those who need it most while reducing their dependence on consumerist thinking that tells them more "stuff" will make them happy. It is possible to read a book without making judgements about the author prior to finishing said book.
I also don't think it necessary to name-call any author. Besides I find anyone who criticizes first-time authors ridiculous if you aren't also a published author.
View all 7 comments. Apr 20, Emma Sea rated it did not like it Shelves: Western upper-middle-class privilege overflows from this book, dark brown and sludgy. Replacing social services for elders with untrained and unregulated volunteer labor in it for the virtual currency.
View all 4 comments. Reality is Broken is the worst kind of populist non-fiction because it is trying so hard to be universally relevant. That being said, the book has a great point to make. Games are great tools for productivity. If we could channel the effort and skill that gamers bring to their favorite pastime, we could accomplish some truly mind-blowing things.
She specializes the blending of the real world with digital games, sometimes called Augmented Reality gaming. So when she says that reality is broken, she is implying that we could be a lot more productive and engaged by our lives if they were handled more like games. The combination of stimulating feedback, challenge and the sense of competition is a great recipe for increased productivity. Managers have been using pieces of this formula for years, but the complete implementation of game design in the workplace has been illusive.
McGonigal has a truckload of research supporting her claims, but much of it is glossed over in the text in favor of optimistic rhetoric. There is a critical point where the conclusions you draw from research need to be supported with numbers immediately, or the average reader will just dismiss the citation. McGonigal also wanders off on some strange tangents. In one chapter she praises the Halo 3 community for uniting to get 10 billion NPC kills. A nice sentiment perhaps, but the chapter is ultimately meaningless to her argument that we should be deriving real value from game design, rather than false meaning from real games.
She could have cut it in half and still had too much fluff. Gaming is good for the soul. Oct 15, Erin rated it it was amazing. I went into this book with a high degree of cynicism.
I think video games are fine in moderation but…video games can change the world? The government released millions of un-cataloged receipts for various MP expenses saved as images.
They had a leader boards for both number of documents read and number of red flag documents found. I think she does overstate her case BUT someone needs to make up for all the anti-video game hand-wringers out there so I'm giving it 5 stars.
Yes, video game addiction is a problem.
So what? She had many fascinating examples of using video games for good. Chore Wars was an interesting example. It is a friendly competition to see who can do the most household chores. I had also never heard of many of the games designed to motivate one to exercise. Who [in our gaming group] can do the most workouts per year? If we all work together how fast can we get to miles run?
Another game I had never heard of is Foldit. The author describes it as a 3D version of Tetris. It was designed by a team of medical scientists and computer scientists.
They are using the brain power of gamers to learn how to fold digital proteins by hand. Right after I read the book I read this article: Feb 21, Philip Cherny rated it did not like it Shelves: Pretty much a quasi-self-help guidebook. Wow, really? Games are an alternative way to face challenges, conquer tasks in creative ways, develop problem-solving skills, blah blah blah. Okay thanks for the chestnut! I cannot believe you stretched that out into an entire Pretty much a quasi-self-help guidebook.
I cannot believe you stretched that out into an entire ish-page book. I find it a little scary how optimistic this author is about the wholesale gamification of life: She does not critically address the limitations of alternate-reality games: Nothing wrong with setting goals and achieving them, but I pity those who feel the need to construct teleological aspirations for productivity in order to find life engaging.
There is more to life than being productive. Some more really annoying parts: She exchanges text messages with her friends Joe and Celia as soon as she gets up in order to make plans to meet at school early. Their goal: In the world of EVOKE, social innova- tors tackle social problems with superheroic secrecy and spectacle—public and yet mysterious, like Batman or Spider-Man—in order to capture global imagination so that the solutions have a real chance to catch on and spread virally.
A SEHI pronounced SEH-hee is someone who feels not just optimis- tic about the future, but also personally capable of changing the world for the better. To make matters worse, you would think that in these ish pages McGonigal would include some substantial statistical data or empirical to back up her claims, but nah! In fact it may make matters worse. This is more of a rant than a book review, but honestly, I haven't had such an agonizing read in a long time.
I close with a link: View 1 comment. Feb 21, Michael Burnam-Fink rated it it was ok Shelves: Reality is certainly broken. Leave aside the big problems like climate change, peak oil, political instability, and economic collapse, on a day to day basis, people are feeling alienated from their jobs, their communities, their very lives, and are fleeing into virtual worlds. Jane McGonigal makes the claim that this is not as bad as it appears, that in fact, games might save the world.
Unfortunately, the book falls into the what I might call the Malcolm Gladwell sorry, Malcolm trap of thinkin Reality is certainly broken. Unfortunately, the book falls into the what I might call the Malcolm Gladwell sorry, Malcolm trap of thinking that an interesting idea and a bunch of anecdotes somehow adds up to a well-supported thesis.
McGonigal breaks the book into three sections. The first is about why we game. She brings into two unusual emotions, fiero , which is triumphant pride in victory, and naches the pleasure of helping someone else become accomplished to explain we find games fun. Games provide ample opportunities to experience these otherwise rare emotions. Games also help us bond, socially, in that they can be a shared interest, but also help us feel like part of a larger project.
Just walking around World of Warcraft feels like being part of a community. The second and third part focus on Alternate Reality Games ARG , which can be used to get people to help with everything from household chores Chore Wars to urban decay Groundcrew. Now, I'm going to be a little critical. One important question that McGonigal drops are if forms of community fostered actually as meaningful as 'traditional communities'. It's one thing if people are replacing watching Jerry Springer with gaming, it's another if it's replacing the traditional institutions of cohesion.
I can't say that the virtual communities I've belong to have felt event a little bit as real. On a related note, can games create valuable behavior? There are certainly lessons to be learned from game design about making boring tasks like work and school more interesting and intrinsically rewarding, but a fundamental facet of games is the freedom to leave.
Can games replace other forms of organization with the going gets tough, or boring? Bruce Sterling said something like, "Good luck getting these twitterhead neterati to pay attention to anything long enough to govern it," in relation to the recent uprising in the Middle East. The same likely applies to game. Chapter 11, on the Engagement Economy, is one of the better ones in the book, but really deserves somebody with an economics PhD to flesh it out.
Translating value between the game and the cash economy will be a perennial problem for serious game designers, and is one that McGonigal sidesteps. Finally, there is the idea that games can reprogram us, to be be nicer, more collaborative, or wiser. Certainly, gamers have created immense things, after Wikipedia, most of the the large wikis on the web are about videogames, but questions of external value still apply. Futurism is hard work, and while you can say "crowd-sourced many-eyes good-results", I'm not sure if these kind of open scenario exercises actually inspire true reflection or wisdom, or merely reinforce pre-existing biases.
I wanted to like this book. Games are important, as the ever increasing number of game players demonstrates, but we need to have a clearer conception of what they can and cannot do. Uncritical cheerleading doesn't help; the topic deserves a better book. Oct 26, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: A surprisingly good book - surprising not because I didn't expect it to be interesting and well written, but because of the breadth of ground the author covers.
McGonigal starts by making a convincing case that playing computer games up to 20 hours a week or thereabouts actually improves the mental capabilities and the individual and collective quality of life of gamers; she draws on a fair amount of psychological research data with which I was already familiar via my training and reading as a A surprisingly good book - surprising not because I didn't expect it to be interesting and well written, but because of the breadth of ground the author covers.
McGonigal starts by making a convincing case that playing computer games up to 20 hours a week or thereabouts actually improves the mental capabilities and the individual and collective quality of life of gamers; she draws on a fair amount of psychological research data with which I was already familiar via my training and reading as a psychotherapist and with which I was actively working immediately before I started this book.
She goes on to present the theme that games, properly designed, can mobilize the efforts and imaginations of millions of people worldwide to try to solve pressing real-world problems like hunger and the looming energy crisis driven by climate change and the depletion of available fossil fuel reserves. She wraps up by giving examples of ways people have actually begun doing this, and offering web links what else?
Some time back I had the idea of getting involved with video game design with the goal of creating games that would teach children and adolescents pro-social behavior and healthy values like empathy, cooperation, and independence of thought. This book convinces me that people are already doing it, and that it's working. Mar 03, Jamie rated it liked it.
After reading her book, Reality Is Broken: I was interested in Reality is Broken here because McGonigal does, among other things, what I do on my blog: Only where I tend to look at the larger world and apply theories about human behavior to explain game design and player behaviors, she does the inverse by starting at maxims of game design and player psychology to understand how we do things in the real world.
Or rather, how we should do things in the real world. The book is at its best when it draws these straight lines from the things that make video games great to ways to improve our work, philanthropy, and relationships outside of games. Specific, actionable goals subject to clear feedback, for example, is something that every game designer aims for and every player seeks out, and to the extent that we can adopt those same standards in real life and frame our everyday activities in game-like terms, we can be happier and more productive.
The difference is that instead of sneaking up to people and squirting them with water pistols, C2BK players would perform random acts of kindness —such as a warm greeting, a helping hand, or a kind compliment— in order to take each other out of the game. Only you never knew who your fellow players were, so many perplexed but pleased bystanders are often caught in crossfires of friendly words and offers of aid.
I think the author should have endeavored more to create an overall model of game and gamer characteristics and how they can lead to better health, happiness, and life in the real world. The back third of the book suffered from this particularly, to the point of feeling meandering and more than a little self serving. She obviously believes these big thoughts and thinks that games can serve as models for making the world better, to the point where she somewhat infamously thinks there should one day be a Nobel prize for game design.
But like I said her claims sometimes strains credibility and you often wonder what the point B between points A and C looks like, because you apparently missed it. But at the very least, the chapters on what makes games work are worth reading, and the rest of the book will at worst make you feel pretty good about being a gamer.
Still, her joy and optimism are infectious, and having champions like McGonigal for our hobby is hardly a bad thing. Jul 16, Michael rated it really liked it Shelves: I love Jane McGonigal's creativity in finding ways to reinvent gaming. She is clearly an intensely creative designer with an eye on the bigger picture of what games might be able to help the human race accomplish.
That said, I felt the potential was being overstated through a glossing over of details. Here's my favorite example and this is a paraphrasing: According to a book called Outliers , people who are absolutely brilliant at something have invested roughly 10, hours in developing the ski I love Jane McGonigal's creativity in finding ways to reinvent gaming. According to a book called Outliers , people who are absolutely brilliant at something have invested roughly 10, hours in developing the skill by the time they are Since the 80's, year-olds have on average spent 10, hours playing video games.
Therefore, many people are brilliant at the skills taught by video games. Video games, among other things, teach cooperation and collaboration. Therefore, we have tons of people who are absolutely brilliant at collaboration. These people can use their powers of collaboration to save the world if given the right context for doing so.
Here's the problem I'm seeing in sentence 3: As far as I can tell, video games teach a broad range of skills because they are different from one another. While my time playing strategy games has developed a certain skill set, my time playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game has taught me about timing, and about how many times you have to jump-kick Rocksteady in his head to kill him.
Granted, if someone spent 10, hours playing World of Warcraft , they would undoubtedly be a brilliant WoW -player, and would know all the ins and outs of raiding, duels, guild dynamics, and a variety of other complex skills.
But if you've spent 10, hours playing Resident Evil , you're just good at killing zombies with a knife. This skill could come in handy during the inevitable zombie apocalypse, but it's not collaboration. In summary, it doesn't make sense to say all of your gaming experience is building upon the same skill.
This is like saying 10, hours spent in national parks makes you a brilliant botanist. That aside, I really find what I learned in this book invaluable. Reading about the innovative games that have been created for the sake of a making people happier, b enhancing reality, and c saving the world, has given me a lot of new ideas to think about in my search for ways to teach sustainability through video games.
Now, I realize that some people are already finding new solutions to environmental problems through creative gaming. This is an incredibly inspiring thought. My favorite new discovery is the game now known as "Sparked. Players can broadcast their availability to save the day, as well as things they need in order to be 'rescued. Really, this game does nothing but make it easier and more fun to help complete strangers.
And this is awesome. Jane McGonigal views game design as a dynamic field which has more untapped potential than any other medium for making social change. On this, I totally agree. If you're a gamer, or someone who is under the mistaken impression that games are a waste of time, read this book. Jun 17, Gil rated it liked it. You could say I came to this book with a lot of baggage.