Reality is Broken: Gaming Makes the World Better!

Gaming has always made me happy. But now, I have proof that I NEED to play. Last year, relatively unknown game designer, Jane McGonigal gave a speech at TED that began a movement by which a new term, and industry would evolve. Jane postulated that playing games, makes us better people. And now, she is launching a book that describes in detail that theory. To be honest, this is something I already knew being an avid gamer, but what makes her “studies” more poignant is the fact that we are starting to believe the science behind Gamification.

Jane said some, at the time, outrageous thing like: “If we want to solve problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity, I believe that we need to aspire to play games online for at least 21 billion hours a week, by the end of the next decade.”

Watch Jane McGonigal – Gaming Can Make a Better World – TED

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Yes Jane, I agree!

But to solve world problems through my domination in gaming? I am not certain I get the connect, but please continue this discourse everywhere you go:

”What about games makes it impossible to feel that we can’t achieve everything? How can we take those feelings from games and apply them to real-world work? So, I looked at games like “World of Warcraft,” which is really the ideal collaborative problem solving environment. And I started to notice a few things that make epic wins so possible in online worlds. So, the first thing is, whenever you show up in one of these online games especially in “World of Warcraft,” there are lots and lots of different characters who are willing to trust you with a world-saving mission, right away. But not just any mission, it’s a mission that is perfectly matched with your current level in the game. Right? So, you can do it. They never give you a challenge that you can’t achieve. But it is on the verge of what you’re capable of. So, you have to try hard. But there is no unemployment in “World of Warcraft.” There is no sitting around wringing your hands. There is always something specific and important to be done. And there are also tons of collaborators. Everywhere you go, hundreds of thousands of people ready to work with you to achieve your epic mission.”

Exactly! I see where she is going with this, but it’s not quite reality. But I can see where we can begin to blur the lines and start working together on these as if we were collaborating in a game.

I encourgage you to go read the transcript or watch the video of that speech. Then go a pick up that copy of Reality Is Broken.

Well done Jane, well done.

(Main photo credit: Jesper Juul—The Ludologist)