Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How Games a Can Make Better World

So since I wasn't in class on Friday, I did some research on the book I'm focusing on by Jane McGonigal called "Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. So far, while researching this book and her theory, I've heard EXTREMELY contradicting beliefs on how we view games and to what extent we need to take more more seriously if we are in fact going to save the world's problems (obesity, world hunger, poverty) through increased online gaming. According to McGonigal, we (the world) spends 3 billion hours playing video games a week. This is not enough gameplay to solve any of the world's major problems. We need to play online games for 21 billion hours a week in order to make an impact.

She claims that we become the best versions of ourselves while we play video games, that is we become more sensitive to the needs of others, we are more determined then we ever have been to solve a problem, and we are more inspired then we ever can be. I don't know about you, but when I'm running around in GTA IV beating up old ladies, hijacking cars, and taking the time to halt traffic just so I can blow up all of them in a domino effect, I don't really see how that's progressive.

Anyway, I wanted to hear some opinions on this who's played lots of online games and see if they agree with this point of view. 


  1. Yeah I do find it a little hard to believe that gamers become more sensitive to the needs of others, especially when so many people playing COD or Halo act like complete assholes.

  2. I empathize with you man. Online games have a way of sneaking up on you in real life. When I was younger I used to play those Nick arcade games with Spongebob. It was not beating up old ladies, but flipping patties got intense. I started to flip patties two times faster in real life!

  3. Yeah, I don't really buy into the idea of video games making a better you, or the estimated 21 billion hours a week to make a difference in the world.
    That being said, there are incredible things that can be accomplished by playing video games. Sometimes we are taken to far off lands that we wouldn't normally get to see in real life.
    In some games, like Fable, you are given the option of becoming good or evil. I think it presents an interesting case-study to see what people choose when there is nothing on the line.
    And this may seem like a stupid example, but I remember when I was a little kid, I would play all of those skateboarding games and purposely make my guy fall so I could see how his body fell and how that might have contributed to real life injuries.
    I was just a silly little kid with a gameboy, but I'm sure a more advanced version of that could be used to determine such things.