Jane McGonigal: Reality Is Broken | KCET
Jane McGonigal: Reality Is Broken
The book builds on McGonigal's doctoral research at UC Berkeley, where she combined performance studies with research in psychology, cognitive development and gaming, as well as her practical experience as a game designer specializing in some of the best known Alternate Reality Games (ARGs), including World Without Oil and Superstruct, both of which invited participants to grapple with real world problems in fictional story worlds. Through this work, McGonigal has come to realize that games are uniquely suited to challenge, thrill and engage us, and to promote powerful social bonding, unlike our more mundane activities at work or school. "Reality isn't engineered to maximize our potential or to make us happy," she said last week in an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, and her book is designed to show how and why games are so compelling, and to inspire us to leverage the power of games to help reality.
The book may initially seem like a guide for game designers, or even players, but it's actually a pertinent snapshot of contemporary culture written by someone who is genuinely concerned about our ability to be happy, connect with others, and make the world a better place. Indeed, the book's power - beyond the surprisingly fascinating details of game design - resides in McGonigal's almost Mary Poppins-esq optimism and contagious belief in the power of games to change the world.
McGonigal will speak at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wednesday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Zócalo Public Square project.