Why, Jane McGonigal, why?

I am just getting into Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How they Can Change the World.

Already after just a few pages I found the answer to this problem:

Why do I keep coming back?

I call it the “Why the hell do I keep playing with her?” problem. If I could scroll through my phone for you, you would see screen after screen that looks just like this. Ladybug nearly always beats me. But I keep playing with her.

In reading McGonigal’s book, I discovered a few things about games that explain my willingness to keep losing to Ladybug. She quotes Bernard Suits, who said,

Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.

In McGonigal’s list of how games are a fix for reality, fix #1 is,

Compared with games, reality is too easy. Games challenge us with voluntary obstacles and help us put our personal strengths to better use.

No surprise then that I’m drawn to word games, and that I’ll play even when I’m sure before I start that at least one opponent – my archenemy Ladybug – is going to beat me.

I’ve been interested in Jane McGonigal’s ideas about how games can improve the world since I heard her keynote at SXSW several years ago. I was similarly interested in Seth Priebatsch at this years SXSW.

Even though I’ve barely begun reading, I’m sure this is an important book. Check it out.

3 thoughts on “Why, Jane McGonigal, why?”

  1. Ha! I play because I know you are on the other end playing with me AND it sharpens my mind, is a challenge. Please don’t stop!! I would miss it too much if you did.
    Love to you my frienemy,

  2. As I’ve been reading more of this book, I’ve been astounded by the numbers of gamers worldwide. Today it was announced that Sarah Michelle Gellar would voice the first female character in Call of Duty. You might be interested in what she has to say about numbers.

Leave a Reply