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Reality is Broken

Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

By Jane McGonigal
15-minute read
Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal

Reality is Broken explains how games work, how they influence our everyday lives and what potential they have to improve our lived reality. Full of examples of different game styles and their effects on gamers’ dispositions, it not only offers a broad perspective on what games are but also shows how game designers can use them to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

  • Anyone who plays games, online or offline
  • Anyone who doubts the value of playing video games
  • Anyone interested in novel ways to tackle the most pressing problems of our time

Jane McGonigal is a creator of “alternate reality games” as well as Director of Games Research and Development at the Institute of the Future in Palo Alto, California. Armed with a PhD in Performance Studies, she explores the science of game development and game perception as well as the actual creation of games.

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Reality is Broken

Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

By Jane McGonigal
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal
Synopsis

Reality is Broken explains how games work, how they influence our everyday lives and what potential they have to improve our lived reality. Full of examples of different game styles and their effects on gamers’ dispositions, it not only offers a broad perspective on what games are but also shows how game designers can use them to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Key idea 1 of 9

Games provide more motivation and rewards than “real life” does.

Today, video games are more popular than ever before. Across the world, millions of us use our phones, PCs, or various consoles to play.

In fact, a whopping 97 percent of youths play one game or another. But, what draws us to video games in the first place?

Many experts believe their popularity is the result of mere escapism, a chance for us to distract ourselves from the pressures of reality for a few hours.

However, this view is too simplistic. The real reason why people are playing more video games is that games can provide people with important social needs that might not be available in “real life”.

For example, chat rooms, wikis (websites and games developed by users), and communities of gamers provide gamers with a level of social bonding that reality isn’t offering them.

Games also provide people with a degree of justifiable optimism: players feel good because they know that they can win – that the game can be beat. Every game is solvable by design, which gives people hope.

And even if they do fail, they can take solace in having fun trying. Reality, in contrast, does not provide them with anything similar.

In addition, games provide people with a genuine happiness.

Indeed, a world without fun or excitement leaves people deflated and depressed. Games, with their missions, secrets and “easter eggs,” can augment our otherwise dull lives with a bit of excitement, thus helping to prevent us from becoming unhappy.

What’s more, games also can provide us with fiero, that wonderful feeling of triumph over adversity.

You’ve surely experienced this rush yourself after beating a boss or completing a difficult mission in a game – it’s that moment when you jump from your chair throw your arms over your head and let out a celebratory scream!

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