Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Game That "Kills With Kindness"

So as I am reading Jane McGonigal's book, my opinions of her research are slowly changing. At first, I hated her argument that playing games more can actually help individuals become better people and thus solve the world's problems. While she has good points, I am still extremely skeptical about this. She mentions a game she created with notorious gamer/writer Ian Bogost called "Cruel 2 B Kind". The idea of the game is based on Assassins, where instead of an item or action, the assassin uses a kind phrase or random act of kindness to kill their unsuspecting opponent. The weapons consist of the following:

A hearty welcome
A thank-you
Compliment, smile, wink

The idea is to find something nice to say to the other person and kill them with kindness. I think this is a cool idea but I think I fall into her category of skeptics who don't see much possibility in the continued practice of positive gaming. This sort of game would become old in my mind but that assumes that everyone is coming from the general feeling of cynicism that is so prevalent in our society. I goes I won't know until I experience it but so far I'm impressed at the research and impact she's making with her games. 


  1. This is a really interesting example of how positive games can be when their set out to be that way. Unfortunately this is not the case in today's society as Matt said, there's simply not a market for it. People don't play video games to learn they play them to escape. It sounds like what McGonigal is arguing is that people learn regardless of whether they are trying to when they play video games. Some games obviously have more potential for this, but I think all have something to offer, even if its just something to think about. It's nice to know a game like this exists when so many out there go in the completely opposite direction.

  2. As I said before games can actually help people with psychological disorders and even help burn victims.

    People with phobias sometimes are exposed to their greatest fear (with nothing bad happening) so they can get over it. Virtual reality simulations can do that for cheap over and over again.

    In addition, hospitals sometimes create virtual worlds for burn victims in order to take their mind off their pain. On example of a virtual world is a frozen tundra to give the feeling of calm and coolness.

  3. Post #18
    I think the example that McGonigal gives is a little too literal. I enjoy the concept of making more positive video games, but taking that concept so literally is trying too hard. No one would play a game where compliments kill people. That doesn't make any sense and doesn't progress her argument. If she's looking for more positive gaming, she should focus on positive games that people would actually play. I think for a writer she can come up with a more creative idea than "killing with kindness."