I recently interviewed Jane McGonigal for my day job at the Mercury News. The subject was her new book, “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.” I just finished it myself, and can’t recommend it enough. In particular, the first one-third of the book breaks down the elements of good game design in a way I found very instructive. I’m going to post my notes from that soon.
In the meantime, McGonigal gave the keynote at the Gamification Summit, and I wanted to share some of her additional thoughts. Mostly, these are some random quotes I found of interest:
“We become better versions of ourselves when we’re in games.”
Her definition of a game: “Games are unnecessary obstacles we volunteer to tackle.” She noted that definition doesn’t say anything about graphics or interactivity.
“We invest 3 billion hours weekly playing online games because we are not challenged enough in our real lives.”
“I don’t think this is about making games fun and easier for our users. I think games are about tackling things that are harder for us, for the fun of it.”
“Why are we spending so much time tackling unnecessary tasks?”
One answer: “People want to be connected to something larger than themselves. They want to do things that have meaning.”
(My note: I think news organizations are in the perfect position to design something that taps into our higher aspirations to help our neighbors and our communities).
“If you’re trying to gamfiy something, you should be looking to turn them into super empowered helpful users. That’s what we become when we play a good game.”
“People prefer cooperation games to competitive ones by 3 to 1. If you look at what’s happening in gaming, most people don’t want to compete. They want to work with their friends to achieve a common goal.”