The future is sooner

than you may think,

and Jane McGonigal

has some big ideas.

Why Games Will Change the World

As people prepare for an exponentially more digitized world in just the next few years, we look for signs of hope. Is all this technology going to make the world a better place? Or is it only going to increase our anxiety, isolation, and distraction? Maybe games and interconnectedness can help us become more realized, even more human. Maybe. That’s why getting in on the conversation is exciting, even tantalizing.

Like many current ideas keeping up with dynamic opportunities and dramatic changes in technology and our tapestry of interconnections, Jane McGonigal’s ideas connect to creativity in education, empowering students to dare and become more creative, and the power of fun and play, as models for substantive change, deep learning, and innovative ideas.

The key insights of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World are as much technological as psychological. Electronic games are not just another entertainment medium, or even an art form. They are potent engines for creating and enhancing emotional experience: for making our lives better, especially if we can connect the dots to playing games that engage in real world problems.

How can games really transform our approach to address major crises of our century? McGonigal writes:

“The real world just doesn’t offer up as easily the carefully designed pleasures, the thrilling challenges, and the powerful social bonding afforded by virtual environments. Reality doesn’t motivate us as effectively. Reality isn’t engineered to maximize our potential. Reality wasn’t designed from the bottom up to make us happy.”

We crave satisfying work that allows us to be optimistic about our own chances for success, social connection, and a sense of curiosity, awe, and wonder. How do we define that? Well, that’s not as clear yet, but it’s a bold idea. And it does seem possible. And the near-present future she describes is standing at the door.

Does she point in directions we need to study further? Well, yeah. And let’s get on that. It’s time to “level up” and start using the human resource of gamers for transforming the world.

Want more specifics? Check out her TedTalk here: