I often thought about video games and people who use to play every single day, for one hour or more. More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. And it is precisely this famous game designer who reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world through a groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming. There is a claim in McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken, that makes me think, giving a plausbile explanation of why people spend so much time with their consoles:
“When we’re in game worlds, [we] become the best version of ourselves, the most likely to help at a moment’s notice, the most likely to stick with a problem as long at it takes, to get up after failure and try again.”
At this point…What if gamers were a complex and highly motivated subculture of dedication and collaboration, the very qualities most fundamental to laying the foundation for global happiness?
I mean, if there was really something good in gaming, in addition to entertainment of course, maybe it could be put at the service of society. Indeed, according to the writer, for example, the incredible potential of gamers and gaming culture to change not only how we live our lives on an individual level, but also how we do business and engage in our communities socially and globally, would have already improved our lives, scientific insight into the neurochemical processes that take place in our brains during gaming and psychology-rooted blueprints for employing the reward systems of gaming to motivate real-life behaviours.
Therefore, referring to McGonigal’s book, if games make us better, maybe, in some ways…they can change the world.
So… Let’s play!