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Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the…

by Jane McGonigal

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9972817,928 (3.82)4
Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal shows how we can harness the power of computer games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness, since her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges.… (more)
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English (27)  German (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
The concepts presented are interesting, as are some of the games.. But it seems that most of the games discussed were developed whole or in part by McGonogal. As such the book comes off as a bit self aggrandizing. ( )
  nekrekab | Feb 7, 2021 |
An apologist for video games, a paper argument for their value, but more an explanation of the prevalence of addiction. ( )
  tmdblya | Dec 29, 2020 |
By their 21st birthday, a young person will have spent around 10,000 hours playing video games on a console, phone or other device. According to some, mostly parents, video games are a waste of time and effort, that could be better spent elsewhere. McGonigal has a very different view of this and with evidence from numerous disciplines, like cognitive science and psychology, she puts forward the case that video games are actually good for us.

Using various case studies and examples, she shows just how useful games can be in learning how to, solve problems, develop brand new ideas and collaborate. There are example of games that make people think about energy usage, and survival, she writes when a new game is launched just how fast it is written about and documented on Wiki’s to help those new to the game. There is a chapter on the game, Halo 3, and how gamers across the globe have managed to achieve the unbelievable target of 10 billion kills in the game with teamwork and concerted effort. Even a few minutes on a day on a simple game can do much to relieve stress.

McGonigal is a renowned game designer who has worked with organisations like the World Bank and the UN to develop online problem solving websites aimed at tackling potential problems that humanity will face in the future. She offers a compelling argument that a sensible amount of time spent playing computer games actually has many benefits and positive outcomes. I must say that I tend to agree with a number of the points that she makes, but gaming should be a part of someone’s activities not the whole focus. Worth reading if you are into technology and modern day culture. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
The thesis here is: Reality is broken but games can make it better. Reality should be more game-like. Games are not only escapist. They not only make us happy, but can make a better world. McGonigal is nothing if not enthusiastic. She gives examples that range from the bizarre - playing poker in cemetaries by using the shapes of and years on tombstones to simulate cards - to real world issues - devising conservation strategies in World Without Oil. Much of the book is repetitive and a bit of a stretch. But some of the strategies could be used for targeted purposes. ( )
  steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
Part One - Why Games Make Us Happy is awesome. The book's true strength lies in describing games that already exist and examining their appeal. Why do we play games? What makes games better (more appealing) than everyday life? I am not a gamer, but as I read each chapter, I wanted to run out and try the games described. (This time electronic gaming will take -- hope springs eternal, despite my history of frustration and abandoned gaming platforms.) I loved the definition for games used throughout the book, and I liked the idea of applying a gaming mindset to everyday challenges.

Part Two - Reinventing Reality and Part Three - How Very Big Games Can Change the World, however, made me feel less optimistic about the possibility of changing the world with games. Mostly because the games described in those chapters, the games overtly trying to Do Something, sounded... well, lame. For the most part, they read like Very Special Episodes of the gaming world, with the fun lost beneath the message.

But, hey, practice may make perfect. If the ideas in Reality is Broken are already circulating in the game design world, perhaps games are evolving that meet real world needs - without feeling a bit too serious. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Despite its title, Reality is Broken is not a rallying call for virtual emigration. According to McGonigal – an American game designer and researcher with some of the last decade's most ambitious experiments in gaming on her CV – what's broken is not so much the physical world we inhabit as the social structures layered on top of it. "Today," she argues, "many of us are suffering from a vast and primal hunger. But it is not a hunger for food – it is a hunger for more and better engagement." Games, she believes, have far more to offer than solipsistic retreat.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Tom Chatfield (Apr 30, 2011)
 
 
added by melmore | editWired, Michael Andersen (Jan 20, 2011)
 
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
It is games that give us something to do when there is nothing to do. We thus call games "pastimes" and regard them as trifling fillers of the interstices of our lives. But they are much more important than that. They are clues to the future. And their serious cultivation now is perhaps our only salvation. - Bernard Suits, philosopher
Dedication
for my husband, Kiyash,
who is better at every game than I am,
except for Werewolf
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Gamers have had enough of reality.
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
First and foremost, we crave satisfying work, every single day. The exact nature of this “satisfying work” is different from person to person, but for everyone it means being immersed in clearly defined, demanding activities that allow us to see the direct impact of our efforts.
Second, we crave the experience, or at least the hope, of being successful. We want to feel powerful in our own lives and show off to others what we’re good at. We want to be optimistic about our own chances for success, to aspire to something, and to feel like we’re getting better over time.
Third, we crave social connection. Humans are extremely social creatures, and even the most introverted among us derive a large percentage of our happiness from spending time with the people we care about. We want to share experiences and build bonds, and we most often accomplish that by doing things that matter together.
Fourth, and finally, we crave meaning, or the chance to be a part of something larger than ourselves. We want to feel curiosity, awe, and wonder about things that unfold on epic scales. And most importantly, we want to belong to and contribute to something that has lasting significance beyond our own individual lives.
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Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal shows how we can harness the power of computer games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness, since her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges.

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People who spend hours playing video or online games are often maligned for “wasting their time” or “not living in the real world,” but McGonigal argues persuasively and passionately against this notion in her eminently effective examination of why games are important. She begins by disabusing the reader of some inherent prejudices and assumptions made about gamers, such as that they’re lazy and unambitious. Quite the opposite: McGonigal finds that gamers are working hard to achieve goals within the world of whatever game they are playing, whether it’s going on a quest to win attributes to enhance their in-game characters or performing tasks to get to a higher level in the game. Games inspire hard work, the setting of ambitious goals, learning from and even enjoying failure, and coming together with others for a common goal. McGonigal points out many real-world applications, including encouraging students to seek out secret assignments, setting up household chores as a challenge, even a 2009 game created by The Guardian to help uncover the excessive expenses of members of Parliament. With so many people playing games, this comprehensive, engaging study is an essential read. --Kristine Huntley
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