I recently finished “Reality is Broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world.” by game designer Jane Mcgonigal. I was interested in reading this book after watching Mcgonigal’s “Gaming can make a better world” talk at TED 2010. I found the talk very inspiring, as it made me think of games in a different way. This book expands on the talk, which addresses how we can use the power of games to make us happier, and perhaps solve real-life problems. Considering that games receive so much negative attention from the press, it was refreshing to read how games have the potential to enrich people lives and make them happier.
The book also made me think more about alternate reality games (Or ARGs). I am currently participating in one of Jane Mcgonigal’s own ARGs called “Superbetter,” which helps the user overcome any health related problems that they might be having, such as anxiety, depression, or even losing weight. Mcgonigal has been creating ARGs since 2001, some of which are award-winning. Her current job is the Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, a California-based non-profit research group.
As someone who wants to make a difference in the games industry, I find Jane Mcgongial to be a truly inspiring individual – one of her life goals is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize!