Reality Is Broken
Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the WorldBook - 2011
More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.
Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, Reality Is Broken uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveriesto astonishing effect in virtual environments. Videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? Her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges, and she helped pioneer a fast-growing genre of games that aims to turn gameplay to socially positive ends.
In Reality Is Broken , she reveals how these new alternate reality games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges-and she forecasts the thrilling possibilities that lie ahead. She introduces us to games like World Without Oil, a simulation designed to brainstorm-and therefore avert- the challenges of a worldwide oil shortage, and Evoke, a game commissioned by the World Bank Institute that sends players on missions to address issues from poverty to climate change.
McGonigal persuasively argues that those who continue to dismiss games will be at a major disadvantage in the coming years. Gamers, on the other hand, will be able to leverage the collaborative and motivational power of games in their own lives, communities, and businesses. Written for gamers and nongamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows us that the future will belong to those who can understand, , and play games.
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Games have been a fundamental part of human civilization for thousands of years.
Learning to stay urgently optimistic in the face of failure is an important emotional strength that we can learn in games and apply in our real lives. When we’re energized by failure, we develop emotional stamina. And emotional stamina makes is possible for us to hang in longer, to do much harder work, and to tackle more complex challenges. We need this kind of optimism in order to thrive as human beings.
It may once have been true that computer games encouraged us to interact more with machines than with each other. But if you still think of gamers as loners, then you’re not playing games.
games are teaching us to see what really makes us happy – and how to become the best versions of ourselves.
Then ten/two rule means you work for ten minutes, and then let yourself do something fun and unproductive for two minutes – checking e-mail, getting a snack, browsing headlines. The theory is that it’s easy to commit your attention to work for just ten minutes at a time, and as a result you’ll get fifty good working minutes out of every hour. For many people, that’s a huge boost in productivity.
good games don’t just happen. Gamers work to make them happen. Any time you play a game with someone else, unless you’re just trying to spoil the experience, you are actively engaged in highly coordinated, _prosocial_ behavior. No one forces gamers to play by the rules, to concentrate deeply, to try their best, to stay in the game, or to act as if they care about the outcome. They do it voluntarily, for the mutual benefit of everyone playing, because it makes a better game.
My rant is about the fact that reality is fundamentally broken, and we have a responsibility as game designers to fix it, with better algorithms and better missions and better feedback and better stories and better community and everything else we know how to make. We have a responsibility as the smartest people in the world, the people who understand how to make systems that make people feel engaged, successful, happy, and completely alive, and we have the knowledge and the power to invent systems that make reality work better.
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