IS REALITY BROKEN?

Isn’t reality broken compared to a lot of other things? We can all make some of the same arguments that McGonigal has made for gaming, for whatever we think will improve society. The experience of one gamer will not be the experience of another; the part does not represent the whole.

She talked described ESM or experience sampling method, which states that what we consider “fun” is mildly depressing. She goes on to give examples such as watching TV, eating chocolate, window shopping, etc… But, “fun” is relative. What one person considers fun the next may not.

McGonigal also mentioned various terms used by the gaming community and one coined by a psychologist. She also pointed out that gamers can experience too much of a good thing when she said, “Too much flow can lead to happiness burnout”, regarding people who spend too much time playing games. She talked an Italian word that has been embraced by game designers, to describe the emotional high of gaming; she also mentions “flow” (a specific kind of happiness) a term coined by an American psychologist by the name of  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.

After reading more of her book, I reflected on some of the questions that I had from my previous blog regarding young people and game play. One of the questions I asked was: Do they really feel a sense of community or connection with others by playing video games? After further readings I believe that there is a sense of connection, but I don’t think the connection is as deep or tightly intertwined as McGonigal has portrayed it. The connection is the interest in the game the gamers are playing, nothing more.  They do not have a real interest in these people’s lives.  It’s just like Facebook, you can have thousands of “friends”, but they are not your true friends; you’re only affiliated with each other online

All in all, I found Jane McGonigal’s “Reality is Broken” to be a very easy and surprisingly enjoyable read.  Though I did not agree with all of McGonigal’s points I did think that she had a very interesting concept. I commend her for wanting to improve society and even people’s lives in general. When I first started the book I wanted to be onboard, but I often times kept thinking, “Is she really serious? Does she really think all of the world’s problems can be solved by gaming?” but it sounds as though she believes through gaming we can create a somewhat utopian society, and that’s just not a reality.

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