Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World Paperback – Feb 1 2011
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"Inspiring and engaging" Daily Telegraph "An intriguing and thought-provoking book" New Statesman "Despite her expertise, McGonigal's book is never overly technical, and as with a good computer game, anyone, regardless of gaming experience, is likely to get sucked in" New Scientist "McGonigal is persuasive and precise in explaining how games can transform our approach to those things we know we should do. McGonigal is also adept at showing how good games expose the alarming insubstantiality of much everyday experience. McGonigal is a passionate advocate... Given the power and the darker potentials of the tools she describes, we must hope that the world is listening" -- Tom Chatfield Observer "McGonigal brilliantly deconstructs the components of good game design before parlaying them into a recipe for changing the offline, 'real' world'" Literary Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Jane McGonigal, Ph.D. is the Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times; and on MTV, CNN, and NPR. In 2009, BusinessWeek called her one of the 10 most important innovators to watch. She has given keynote addresses at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, the Game Developers Conference and was a featured speaker at The New Yorker Conference.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
He fixes are simple yet really makes you think.
Great buy for anyone in the game industry or anyone who is interested in games.
“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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Every adult over the age of 60 should read this book. It is thoughtful and thought provoking. Many grandparents are concerned and intimidated by the enormous popularity of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by KJP
A wonderful look at our modern day usage of gaming. It explore the mechanism that makes us want to play game and how to exploit that to advance ourselves and our society.Published 6 months ago by Maxime Yazz Lamoureux
Great book. A must read! ... The first half of the book is great.Published 6 months ago by Etienne Vallée
This is a fascinating book about applying to real life some of the techniques used in developing video games. Read morePublished 10 months ago by AlexG
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