Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal
Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

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Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real-world problems and boost global happiness.

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. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.

Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, Reality Is Broken uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveriesto astonishing effect in virtual environments. Videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? Her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges, and she helped pioneer a fast-growing genre of games that aims to turn gameplay to socially positive ends.

In Reality Is Broken, she reveals how these new alternate reality games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges-and she forecasts the thrilling possibilities that lie ahead. She introduces us to games like World Without Oil, a simulation designed to brainstorm-and therefore avert- the challenges of a worldwide oil shortage, and Evoke, a game commissioned by the World Bank Institute that sends players on missions to address issues from poverty to climate change.

McGonigal persuasively argues that those who continue to dismiss games will be at a major disadvantage in the coming years. Gamers, on the other hand, will be able to leverage the collaborative and motivational power of games in their own lives, communities, and businesses. Written for gamers and nongamers alike, Reality Is Broken shows us that the future will belong to those who can understand, , and play games.

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About Jane McGonigal

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JANE McGONIGAL is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times; and on MTV, CNN, and NPR. In 2009, BusinessWeek called her one of the ten most important innovators to watch. She has given keynote addresses at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, and the Game Developers Conference and was a featured speaker at The New Yorker Conference.
Published January 20, 2011 by Penguin Books. 416 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Computers & Technology, Humor & Entertainment, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Reality Is Broken

The Guardian

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According to McGonigal – an American game designer and researcher with some of the last decade's most ambitious experiments in gaming on her CV – what's broken is not so much the physical world we inhabit as the social structures layered on top of it.

Apr 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Reality Is Broken: Why Games ...

AV Club

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A game designer discusses how to apply game theories to improving the world, but she glosses over some important details.

Feb 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Reality Is Broken: Why Games ...

The Daily Beast

Those are just some of the ways you can see how the games we play impact our real lives, so you can start to figure out what are the rules for the best games to be playing.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Reality Is Broken: Why Games ...


Her focus in this section is on thought patterns—basically, she argues that women should brainwash themselves into only ever thinking good of their husbands.

Jul 12 2013 | Read Full Review of Reality Is Broken: Why Games ...

New Statesman

They feel that gamers are wantonly throwing their lives away, spending so much times playing games -- that gamers are doing something malicious by saying: "I reject reality by staying at home and playing games."

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Reality Is Broken: Why Games ...

Huffington Post

I've worked with the BBC on technology in education since doing school-based proof-of-concept trials for broadband with them in the late 90's, and my opinion from working day-to-day over weeks and months with classes of children from a wide variety of abilities is that many new technologies have ...

May 19 2013 | Read Full Review of Reality Is Broken: Why Games ...

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Pete Herner 23 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5