Reflection: Jane McGonigal

We recently watched a talk by Jane McGonigal at the Ted Talks entitled “Gaming can make a better world.”  In this talk, McGonigal discussed how she believes that gaming creates better people who are better equipped to fix the problems in the world.  Overall, I think that McGonigal’s talk had some valid points that she backed up with solid facts.  She initially talks about the biggest problem with gamers: they don’t believe they can do in the real world what they can do in games.  Even if gamers can change the world in a game and solve all the problems affecting people, they don’t believe they can do the same in the real world.  This is one of McGonigal’s overarching points, and is one of the things she wants to try to fix.  I especially like how she ties back into this point by describing how people use games now to avoid their everyday problems as a means of escapism.  It’s these actions, McGonigal argues, that limit the ability of games and gamers to change the world.  If there were games that helped solve problems in the real world, then by playing these games, gamers could change the world.  Games do not have to be means of escaping; rather they can be problem-solving.  Moreover, the fact that there are so many virtuosos in gaming now, McGonigal argues, is another reason that we as a society should be looking at games as a way to solve problems.  Because so many people are so good at playing games, utilizing this resource would not only help us solve problems, but would also help us solve problems faster.  McGonigal’s talk raised some good points about the future of gaming in problem-solving solutions.  Her talk was well-researched and had a strong argument.  Overall, I really enjoyed McGonigal’s talk and I believe she has a keen insight into the future of gaming.

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2 thoughts on “Reflection: Jane McGonigal

  1. I did a reflection of her talk aswell. I think she raised some very interesting and fair points, I agree with alot of what you say here, especially that McGonigal definitely has a keen insight into the future of gaming.

  2. I honestly didn’t like it so much. I feel like the main issue that she needed to overcome is that in games, the challenges is are all 1. designed by humans, and therefore obey a logic structure that humans can follow 2. designed to be overcome, so that there is always a way to win, there is always somebody who will help you, and failure is generally pointless, and 3. sometimes ask things that are impossible for a person to do. Looking beyond games like Mario where he can jump for times his body height, even more realistic games often demand that the player kill “bad guys” or endure overwhelming emotional struggle. Sure, it’s easy enough to click a button, but what she’s asking us to do is solve problems that are largely our own fault. How are we supposed to fix issues in countries like Africa where you have droughts, a lack of technology and warlords? How does this fix any of those issues?

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