As part of the Session 6 lecture (which you can find here), we were tasked with watching two “TED Talks”. The first of these talks that I watched was “Gaming can make a better world” by Jane McGonigal.
McGonigal is a Game Designer. She is a major advocate in using games to evoke positive attitudes and to collaborate with real life. In this talk, McGonigal states that she wants to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is in a video game. I personally related to a statement that McGonigal made which referred to the concept of “epic win”. Gamers are constantly striving towards “epic wins” every time they play. I also agreed strongly with McGonical’s observation that you do not get the same level of feedback from reality that you do in a game (rewards such as points towards stats, leveling up etc…). I believe that these things make virtual worlds more appealing.
McGonigal then goes on to explore exactly what gamers are getting good at. These are as follows:
- Urgent Optimism – Extreme Self-motivation
- Weaving a tight social fabric – Research shows that we get on with people better when we play games with them.
- Blissful Productivity – Gamers are happiest when working hard then when we are when relaxing.
- Epic Meaning – Gamers love to be attached to massive stories and important missions.
These things combined, make gamers, in McGonigal’s words, “Super-Empowered Hopeful Individuals”. McGonigal argues that gamers believe they are able to change the world, but the only problem is that they only believe they can change the virtual world. This is what McGonigal is trying to change. McGonigal believes that we need to start making the world more like a game.
McGonigal has made several games which have real life impacts. One of these is called “World Without Oil“, which is based around surviving a fictional oil shortage. You get real time data feeds and videos of the area in which you live, and then gamers actively have to make decisions based around this oil shortage. This teaches people how to reduce the amount of oil they would use, and players that have played the game have used what they have learned in game to do just that. Some other games that McGonigal has created that have a similar theme are “SuperStruct” and “Evoke”.
- The Innovative Game Developer: Jane McGonigal (stevensjona.wordpress.com)
- Jane McGonigal – Gaming Can Make A Better World (lenoramcday.wordpress.com)
- Jane McGonigal Change My Life (quixoticlibrarian.wordpress.com)