Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.0
04/27/23
views 13352
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Author:Jane McGonigal
04/27/23
views 13353
comments0
Author:Jane McGonigal
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.0

Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
Jane McGonigal The Penguin Press, 2011
Senteo’s Review information

Given that, according to this book, more than 174 million Americans are “gamers” and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of 21, this book provides much-needed insight into why people play games and how games stimulate both gamers and non-gamers.

The author distills the game into 4 basic components: a goal; the rules; a feedback system; and voluntary participation. The book then goes on to advance the premise that reality has failed us because it is not as interesting as games, and how we can therefore correct this problem through application of the principles of games. Through many examples of games, the book can help the reader understand business or the world and how it applies to this “gamer” generation.

Through a scholarly presentation of gaming by one of the most renowned experts on the subject,  Jane McGonigal gives justification for the amount of time we all spend on games and provides insight into how to relate to gamers. Her analysis goes far to help understand and, in some cases, exonerate gamers for what many perceive as a waste of time or mindless addiction, actually building competitive and positive qualities into gamers.

The author goes to great lengths to preach the virtues of gaming and applications therein, however in the process often fails to present balance the negative effects of gamers on society. For example, the author sees in many videogames redeeming qualities that should be applied to real-life interactions, even more so because reality does not provide the stimulus that is found in videogames. McGongial stresses that “compared to games, reality is depressing, trivial and pointless.” Many would challenge this premise by pointing out that the author might need to provide more analysis of reality and some of its better qualities as well as the downside qualities of video gaming addicts.

A visionary game designer reveals how we can harness the power of games to boost global happiness.
With 174 million gamers in the United States alone, we now live in a world where every generation will be a gamer generation. But why, Jane McGonigal asks, should games be used for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking book, she shows how we can leverage the power of games to fix what is wrong with the real world-from social problems like depression and obesity to global issues like poverty and climate change-and introduces us to cutting-edge games that are already changing the business, education, and nonprofit worlds. Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows that the future will belong to those who can understand, design, and play games.

This book provides an enlightening analysis on what makes games engaging. Even for those who disagree with the premise of gamification, the book is full of ideas and examples tied to a wide variety of games, both video and traditional. For those interested in gamiification theory, this is a must-read. Anyone who wants to understand how business can be applied to the gamer generation, whether trying to engage consumers or employees, will find this book instructive.

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Reality is Broken focuses more on the intrinsic value of games through research and examples. On the application framework side, the book comes up short. It does provide examples as to why games like Foursquare have widely applicable appeal, however this, unlike Radoff’s Game On(see Senteo review), provides little in the way of analysis and tools for implementing games in the customer experience or business environment.

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    Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World
    Jane McGonigal The Penguin Press, 2011
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