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Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World Paperback – Feb 1 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (Feb. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224089250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089258
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #786,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone who doubts that games and play are useful for society should read this book. It presents the best arguments I've ever come across that games are not the wastes of time people make them out to be. Jane does a wonderful job at explaining the psychological rewards and effects of games and how these effects might be useful in other spheres of life.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on March 15 2014
Format: Hardcover
It was Jane McGonical's opinion in 2011 that the human race was at a major tipping point. "We can stay on the same course," fleeing the real world for gaming in virtual words or "we can reverse course" and try something else entirely: "What if we decided to use everything we know about game design to fix what's wrong with reality? What if we started to live our real lives like gamers, lead our real businesses and communities like game designers, and think about solving real-world problems like computer and video game theorists?"

OK, how? McGonical wrote this book to share her thoughts and feelings about how such an admirable objective could (perhaps) be achieved. First, defining terms: She suggests there are four defining traits of a game: It has a goal, rules, a feedback system (e.g. score), and voluntary participation. I have been an avid golfer for most of my life and still play about once a week. My goal is to enjoy myself, I follow most of the rules, no longer keep score, and play willingly. According to Bernard Suits, "Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles." In golf, my obstacles include insufficient skill, natural hazards, and impatience.

McGonical identifies twelve unnecessary obstacles in the real world and suggests a how a specific gaming "fix" can overcome each. For example, years ago she coined the term "happiness hacking" which is "the experimental design practice of positive-psychology research findings into game mechanic. It's a way to make happiness activities feel significantly less hokey, and to put them in a bigger social context. Fix #10: "Compared with games, reality is hard to swallow. Games make it easier to take good advice and try out happier habits.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas on June 16 2013
Format: Paperback
Review courtesy of www.subtleillumination.com

“The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.” – Brian Sutton-Smith

When was the last time you leveled up? Found a power up? Got a wisdom +1? These motivate us in video games, and Jane McGonigal argues in Reality is Broken that actual reality needs more of them. Millions of people use games to escape reality – why, she asks, can’t we use games to improve reality?

McGonigal thinks games can confer an evolutionary advantage on those who play them, helping us develop our strengths, treat depression and obesity, foster collaboration, increase democratic participation, fix education, and maximize our potential as human beings. As a result, Reality is Broken is stuffed full of interesting examples and facts, and the book shines because of them.

Whether discussing poker in graveyards to remind ourselves of our own mortality; Chorewars creating quests like doing the laundry; Quest to Learn as the framework for a charter school (with among other things students teaching concepts to AI avatars as quizzes); or God games like the Sims, Black and White, and Spore fostering the long view and developing ecosystems thinking, the games she analyzes are exciting. 69% of heads of household in the US play video games, and 97% of youth; this is a resource, she argues, we need to tap.

I’m always a little nervous about these kinds of claims; they remind me of Play Pumps, the systems installed in parts of Africa in which children playing could pump water. When the children bored of the idea, women were left to turn roundabouts by hand, making their task even more laborious. That said, games also have enormous potential to change our lives for the better.

My takeaway though is optimism about humanity.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By FoxRacingGurl on Nov. 17 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
McGonigal has a very optimistic view, but it is well worth the read.
He fixes are simple yet really makes you think.
Great buy for anyone in the game industry or anyone who is interested in games.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miguel B. Ouellet on April 12 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Its was a super deal and the product look fine. A bunch of year then im looking for this book. Thanks a lot!
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