I love Jane McGonigal's creativity in finding ways to reinvent gaming. She is clearly an intensely creative designer with an eye on the bigger pictureI love Jane McGonigal's creativity in finding ways to reinvent gaming. She is clearly an intensely creative designer with an eye on the bigger picture of what games might be able to help the human race accomplish.
That said, I felt the potential was being overstated through a glossing over of details. Here's my favorite example (and this is a paraphrasing):
According to a book called Outliers, people who are absolutely brilliant at something have invested roughly 10,000 hours in developing the skill by the time they are 21. Since the 80's, 21-year-olds have on average spent 10,000 hours playing video games. Therefore, many people are brilliant at the skills taught by video games.
Video games, among other things, teach cooperation and collaboration. Therefore, we have tons of people who are absolutely brilliant at collaboration. These people can use their powers of collaboration to save the world if given the right context for doing so.
Here's the problem I'm seeing in sentence 3: As far as I can tell, video games teach a broad range of skills because they are different from one another. While my time playing strategy games has developed a certain skill set, my time playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game has taught me about timing, and about how many times you have to jump-kick Rocksteady in his head to kill him. Granted, if someone spent 10,000 hours playing World of Warcraft, they would undoubtedly be a brilliant WoW-player, and would know all the ins and outs of raiding, duels, guild dynamics, and a variety of other complex skills.
But if you've spent 10,000 hours playing Resident Evil, you're just good at killing zombies with a knife. This skill could come in handy during the inevitable zombie apocalypse, but it's not collaboration. In summary, it doesn't make sense to say all of your gaming experience is building upon the same skill. This is like saying 10,000 hours spent in national parks makes you a brilliant botanist.
That aside, I really find what I learned in this book invaluable. Reading about the innovative games that have been created for the sake of (a) making people happier, (b) enhancing reality, and (c) saving the world, has given me a lot of new ideas to think about in my search for ways to teach sustainability through video games. Now, I realize that some people are already finding new solutions to environmental problems through creative gaming. This is an incredibly inspiring thought.
My favorite new discovery is the game now known as "Sparked." In this game, you are a superhero capable of rescuing real people with real problems. Players can broadcast their availability to save the day, as well as things they need in order to be 'rescued.' In real life, you are capable of helping people who for one reason or another are unable to accomplish something on their own, and you can gain recognition and "level up" as a superhero through these efforts.
Really, this game does nothing but make it easier and more fun to help complete strangers. And this is awesome.
Jane McGonigal views game design as a dynamic field which has more untapped potential than any other medium for making social change. On this, I totally agree. If you're a gamer, or someone who is under the mistaken impression that games are a waste of time, read this book.
Tyrion Lannister's horse was rubbing him raw as they rode onward, the branches of the trees above them swaying in a branch-like way. Ravens flew aboutTyrion Lannister's horse was rubbing him raw as they rode onward, the branches of the trees above them swaying in a branch-like way. Ravens flew about among them, and clouds of dust hovered like halos around the hooves of their steeds.
Wiping sweat from his brow, Tyrion spoke to yet another minor character you've never seen before. "I hear that the Morvin and the Shornpel clans have sided with Darvus Farier from the great city of Bee Eff Eee, and are pushing forward late king Baratheon's bastard's scullery maid's uncle's melanoma as the true heir to the throne."
The minor character chortled as he spooned up some of the newt egg soup. It had been spiced with cloves and the lightest touch of pepper, and leaves of cilantro floated like corpses upon its surface. Eating a side of braised elk spleen and a hunk of bread with a cheese sauce, the minor character said, "If so, even more of the action is likely to shift away from the viewpoint characters, and THEN we'll see whether any of the characters from the first volume even make it to the final book, A Trample of Turtles."
"But," Tyrion pondered aloud, eating inch-long prawns from a trencher filled with a hot butter sauce, "If the Starks send nine hundred of their men from the outer borders of ThatoneplaceImentionedOnce, and they move down toward the Lannister forces on Dragon's Fjord before the Lannister forces can unite with the Great Army of the Unwashed Men, perhaps they can defeat the bunjillion soldiers in the south now being ushered in the general direction of King's Landing by that one other guy. I can't remember his name. You know, the one?"
The minor character shrugged, tearing a piece from his bread bowl and dipping it into a small puddle of balsamic vinegar. "You forget about the people beyond the wall, and the dragons in the east, and Bobbert, King Robert's mechanic. He now claims to have been conceived with the king's own cum, and thus has a claim to the throne."
Tyrion scratched his chin. "That does throw a new light on how convoluted things are becoming."
They continued riding, their horses traveling gradually. More branches passed overhead. It felt as if the traveling had gone on indefinitely, and the audience was more than capable of empathizing. Tyrion munched on fresh radishes and drank a bold red wine from a skin hanging from his belt. The wine was rich, with plum flavorings and an oaky aftertaste.
"But," said Tyrion, suggesting another possible set of things that could happen. He made reference to an event that happened nine-hundred pages ago, but remembered it wrong, then postulated what the possible outcome could be. They rode onward. Minor Character munched on some pine nuts.
SUDDENLY, SOMETHING EPIC WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!
Eudaknow An Eudongivafuck, minor noble from Shelbyville, rubbed his temple, filled with anxiety at being introduced as a new viewpoint character 9,600 pages into the series. How would he live up to the amazing characters who had come before him and died so tragically? Perhaps because he had a valid claim to the throne, Having been the barista in King Robert's favorite coffeehouse. Yeah, that was the ticket. Riding his steed/ship across the desert/glenn/ocean/alley, he traveled gradually, wondering when he would arrive. Discussing with the others upon the ship, he theorized about possible outcomes of the conflicts in Westeros, all the while eating a succulent pomegranate, red juices running down his chin like he'd just been chewing on afterbirth.
SUDDENLY, SOMETHING AMAZING WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!
The titties tittied, jiggling with much breastful bosomliness. The oiled girls with Brazilian waxes down below wrestled and licked each other's areolas, but it was only to help you become immersed in a realistic depiction of the ancient world. As the breasts bosomed with titful abandon, Tyrion ate shark flank. It had been buttered, cooked for twenty minutes at 345 degrees, then drizzled with a lemon sauce and allowed to cool for five minutes. The flavor was only mildly fishy, and Tyrion burped, taking another drink of the white zinfandel before digging into the raspberry crepes with a chocolate fondu. "But still, Measter, you must understand the possibilities of that event rely on Stannis placing all of his trust in the moody lords of the upper northwest. They are known for being fickle and not holding to their oaths, and Stannis is more likely to try and seize the Port of Skulls. Will the king's ninth bastard even survive that battle? If so, at what cost to Stannis? Plus, what happens if the Lannisters and the Starks team up, and get Batman to join them, and Stannis can only get Iron Man? What then?"
Measter laughed at the dwarf. "That may be, dwarf. You might be short and a dwarf, but you have a mind as sharp as a blade. But you are very tiny, in case that had escaped anyone's notice. Even so, if Stannis enlists Dumbledore, Gandalf and Belgarion, he will be more than a match for the team-up of Lannister, Batman and Stark. Even if they get Rocky Balboa and Wesley Willis on their side."
Tyrion watched the boobs. "But what about Joshua Lyman? Because he could totally take Dumbledore, and maybe Iron Man."
Tyrion ate a lamb gyro, thinking back to the exciting thing that happened after the last chapter ended, thinking of it in an ambiguous and incomplete way. Since it had been 100 pages since his last chapter, you had entirely forgotten what the exciting thing at the end of the chapter was anyway, so it was not much of a loss. "Well," he said, "Now that all of the titties have jiggled sufficiently, we must needs be back on the road."
They rode their steeds along a road, hooves raising up halos of dust, the ravens flittering about in the branches and saying what words they had picked up from the conversation. "Death!" "Dumbledore!" "Titties!"
The half-man, who was short and a dwarf, wiped the sweat from his brow.