Monday, June 11, 2012

McGonigal on Games - Intro

I promised that I would write a few choice blog posts on Jane McGonigal’s book on games and how they could change the world.  I will start out by talking about her basic premise.

Her point is that we enjoy playing games (because of several design attributes that I will talk about in future posts) and that enjoyment makes us more productive and more effective.  So we could make the world a better place if we apply gaming principles to things like work tasks, civic activities, social action, philanthropy, friendship/romantic activities, household/domestic responsibilities, and pretty much anything you can think of.

The logic is very consistent.  If we really do work harder, longer, and better on games and if we can effectively apply gaming principles to these other activities, then it follows that we should be able to improve how people do all these things.  The benefits could be huge in so many ways.

Of course, the devil is in the details.  Just because we enjoy games doesn’t mean we would enjoy gamified work.  Or gamified romance.  And even if we “would” doesn’t mean we "can" effectively apply gaming principles to make it happen. 

But of course the fact that it might not work, and that even if it does work it will be hard to do and not guaranteed by any stretch, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  The potential is too great not to.

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