ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review:"Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World”

Updated on June 29, 2015

McGonigal Jane is a digital game designer who has been recognized as one among the earliest researchers and game designers who initiated the inquiry for positive digital game values in the modern-day world. In light of brisk growing realm of optimistic psychology, her book Reality is Broken did stretch her prominent discovery of how digital games positively contribute to the sense of a person’s wellbeing. In addition, the book has also focused on how gaming activities tend to improve the quality of social life quality. The author has also discussed how games function as podium to provoking the political and civic awareness of people[1]. In essence, the significance of games in social life and the general wellbeing of individuals cannot be overemphasized.

“Reality is Broken” makes it very clear that humanity has began facing the same question. Almost 3 billion hours of digital games are played on a weekly basis in the world. Human effort, relationships, identities and attention has shifted towards the artificial world that is designed to expressively enthrall and entertain us. The question is what does all this imply, and what do we learn from it?

McGonigal argues that many people in today’s perspective suffer from a primal and vast hunger. Not hunger for food, but for better and more engagement. She believes that games offer so much more than solipsistic retreat. The major insights in “Reality is Broken” are then not very much technological but psychological[2]. No event, life circumstances, outcome or object can deliver complete happiness to us. In this respective, individuals must therefore, make their own happiness by working hard in activities, which provide their own reward. In this light, electronic games are not just a form of art or a medium. Rather, they are potent engines, which enhance and create emotional experience, which makes our lives better.

In this book, McGonagall is precise and persuasive in explaining how digital games can transform our approach to the things, which we know we should do. She claims that people crave for satisfying work that allow them to be optimistic about their own chances to succeed. This includes being socially connected; and allows them to experience wonder, curiosity and awe. This craving extends beyond simple definitions of happiness. Similarly, it might be helpful for people to work collectively, maintain optimism against all odds, and keep in mind that they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

In explaining the concept, McGonigal has employed various examples including the use of Foldit a game, which uses the spatial reasoning of players to model three dimensional protein structures, and World without Protein, her own game that creates mutual solutions to fossil fuel exhaustion. Nevertheless, her account of how to make one’s own happiness is a pragmatic and visionary appeal. It does not come as a surprise that game designers are not the only people who have tried changing the world through incentives and inspirational concepts. She also tries to show how games expose the startling insubstantiality of daily experience. She argues that work undertaken within virtual worlds often feels meaningful than modern life work and claims most of peoples life’s are not real by a half.

Despite not having empirical evidence for her arguments, the innovative work of McGonigal surely deserves the attention of researchers. It reconciles the paradoxical relationship among games, social change and the well-being of individuals from the perspective of a game designer. As a target book at the public, this book is easy to understand and well written. By including specific examples in its theoretical explanation, it becomes more digestible and interesting .While the salience of some points surely needs to be increased; the book provides a rather excellent beginning and a refreshing perspective on digital gaming.


[1] McGonigal Jane. Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, Brilliance Audio Unabridged edition (Jan. 1 2012), ISBN-13: 978-1455832910

[2] ibid

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)