Sharon's Reviews > Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal
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Mar 04, 11

Read from February 27 to March 01, 2011

Jane McGonigal is a fascinating person - the kind I'd like to have over for dinner - and I desperately wish this book were required for everyone I've known who mocks video games and gamers.

Her explanation covers so, so many levels of both the importance, the history, and the potential of games, and while I doubt she would approve of my brief breakdown, I came away with something like this:

Productive bliss comes from doing something we're good at, which we get regular feedback on and which harnesses our talents, is within our ability to perform, and also constantly keeps us on the edge of our talents. Reaching that blissful state of flow usually requires mastery - approximately 10,000 hours of study before the age of 21 - but with video games, you can have instant "flow," because video games are tailored to give you that experience with minimal effort.

Even more fascinating, gamers are not loners anymore, but increasingly highly social in their game playing, and exceptional collaborators. Best of all, most folks born after 1990 will have 10,000 hours of video game mastery by age 21, preparing them for a kind of incredible positive collaborative mastery previously unknown. And modern games, increasingly designed to improve the human condition, take advantage of incredibly basic human abilities and amplify them tenfold, and she walks you through all the many ways we've utilized that ability, from creating a healing system to increasing volunteering to superior education systems to simply creating joy - all through games.

I love books like these: books that challenge your understanding and broaden your perspective of human capabilities, and casting a beautifully positive light on something so much of academia is so happy to mock and degrade. A fascinating, wonderful book.
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