A new book explores how gaming fulfills many human needs and how gaming may be utilized to solve the world’s problems.Psychology Today reports:
It may be time to stop thinking that what goes down in a game world like Azeroth has no impact on the “real world.”
Azeroth, the fictional location of the epic-scale events in World of Warcraft (WoW), the popular online role-playing game, may as well be a monster-thronged baseball diamond. In WoW, being part of a raid to defeat a nasty boss (powerful enemy) is an experience as “real,” emotionally rich and memorable, as winning a high school championship game. Twelve million rabid players will attest to this.Time spent with digital gaming is no longer considered an escapist pastime for a geek minority, but as integrated into our routines as our morning commutes. According to the Entertainment Software Association, almost 70 percent of all heads of household and 97 percent of youth are gamers, 40 percent of these being female.
As gaming and real life converge, Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Penguin, 388 pp., illustrated, $26.95) is the right book at the right time. McGonigal proposes a fascinating and provocative, if troubling, manifesto that adds to our understanding of the appeal and potential power of digital games.
McGonigal’s central thesis is this: Reality is discouraging, unproductive, disconnected, and broken in about a dozen other ways. Meanwhile, electronic games are already “fulfilling genuine human needs,” she writes, in ways that our real lives often fail to. If lessons learned from Call of Duty or Wii boxing were applied to everyday life, could reality be “fixed”? Could day-to-day drudgery be slayed?
McGonigal replies: Game on!…
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