I just picked up this book yesterday on the recommendation of a friend, and mentor, after I mentioned I was playing with the concept of game design for social change.
By the end of the introduction, I was blown away.
I’m only 3 chapters in right now, but I’ve already got a new perspective and appreciation for the amazing potential of games, and for the gamers that play them. Gathering research from sociology, psychology, cognitive science and performance design, Janine McGonigal shows how video gamers embody some of the most valuable, selfless characteristics of human society. They voluntarily tackle unnecessary, increasingly difficult obstacles. They innovate, think critically, learn to think and act to the limits of their abilities to play inside the rules. They learn to collaborate on monumental projects and connect to something larger than themselves. They play games for intrinsic rewards; gamers don’t expect payment, luxurious material rewards, or career advancement. They want to play the game, and find the self-confidence and “fiero” that accompanies success.
My conclusions? There is an undeniable power in games for harnessing the best attributes of humanity – and a great potential in directing those attributes towards improving the quality of our work, our lives, and our environment.
See for yourself and pick up a copy at Amazon.com, or use the link to see a detailed description and praise from critics and industry leaders. Below are a few examples:
“Wonder why we love games? McGonigal has written the best take yet on the deep joys of play — and how to use that force for good. Reality is Broken is a rare beast: A book that’s both philosophically rich and completely practical. It will change the way you see the world.” —Clive Thompson, contributing writer for Wired and The New York Times Magazine
“Jane McGonigal’s groundbreaking research offers a surprising solution to how we can build stronger communities and collaborate at extreme scales: by playing bigger and better games. And no one knows more about how to design world-changing games than McGonigal. Reality Is Broken is essential reading for anyone who wants to play a hand in inventing a better future.”— Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
“Forget everything you know, or think you know, about online gaming. Like a blast of fresh air, Reality is Broken blows away the tired stereotypes and reminds us that the human instinct to play can be harnessed for the greater good. With a stirring blend of energy, wisdom and idealism, Jane McGonigal shows us how to start saving the world one game at a time.”— Carl Honoré, author of In Praise of Slowness and Under Pressure