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Jason Pook's Games Design Blog


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CATS Log Book 6- TED Talk Jane McGonigal The Future of Gaming.

This is an addition to my Log Book 6 as further research on the “Futures” topic in our Contextualising Digital Culture series. This video is  TED Talk from Jane McGonigal who talks about the Future of Gaming and how it can make a better world.

Her name is Jane McGonigal she is a Games Designer who has been in the industry for 10years, she opens with a statement of what she wants to do which is “to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is in a online game” from her research she found out the world plays 3billions hours of gaming a week but that is actually no where near enough to be solving all the worlds problems, the world doesn’t game enough. Sounds mad as most people have a lot to do outside the world of gaming but she wants 21billion hours of gameplay every week which is 7times the current amount if we are to survive the next 100years on earth.

A phrase she used to describe an image of a captured game face of a gamers on the very of an “epic win” an epic win is a term I use a lot in my gaming time as it refers to a huge/ awesome success in your gameplay its a shock of your capabilities in game, recently for me it was finally defeating the Master difficulty on Resogun PlayStation 4. This was used to contrast the face of people who solve the real worlds problems which we see as a bore as its not as much as a “epic win” as in the game world, I think this insight is a fantastic way at looking at things the passion of “epic wins” achieving what you think is the impossible why cannot that be used to bring out the best of us in the world today. Collaborations in games of how 100000’s of people are ready online to assist you in your future endeavours, like a quest on a massive online multiplayer role playing games people from all over the world might want to join you due to their particular skill sets. We don’t get that enough in real life.

Another quite humour related thing she said was the level up reference, in games we level up e.g. +1 strength +1 vision etc. so we have a sense of achievement every time we play games which gives us progression, whereas she said “im not going to go off the stage with +1 speaking +1 crazy ideas…+20 crazy idea you don’t get that in real life”. Its so inspiring to be on the verge of a epic win people spend so much time gaming to achieve that so if that was incorporated into real life achieving.

The 10,000 hours of success theory was then mentioned, referring to research that young gamers now play by the age of 21 on average of 10,000 hours of gaming so this is a parallel education to school. So what do gamers achieve and what they learn? well gamers are always made of these 4 superpowers:

Optimistic: they always think an “epic win” is possible.

Social fabric: gamers take a lot of trust to collaborate and work with someone else so collaborations in real life are much easier for gamers it builds stronger co-operation.

Blissful productivity: we know when we play a game we are more happy to work hard than relax on something we want to focus and be inspired into.

Epic meaning: gamers want to be world saving heroes so meaning to life with an epic objective will bring the best out of people who game more.

Gamers are “super empowered hopeful individuals” they believe and want to save the world but are confused to think they can only do it in the game world when they can do it in the real world with these 4 superpowers combined.

“We have to make the real world more like a game” I cant help but want to jump up in joy at this statement from her, gamers are so underestimated in all areas of life and sometimes are shunned or rejected due to their gaming activities when its actually games have been proven to increase all your reactions and give you these superpowers as Jane said so we are the future of the human race. Games are used to get away from all the worlds bad like hunger, famine, drought, disasters etc. what she references is making a world real life game where everyone is given a adventure from e.g. a roll of a dice it will give them a sense to achieve the “epic win”.

She rounded up with 3 survival real life simulated games which the first one was “world without oil” where they use your current location to gather feeds of data about cost of oil and what you have to do is solve how you can live without oil “if you emerge them in an epic adventure most of the players keep up the habits they gain in the game”, the 2nd was “the global extinction awareness computer” it made everyone collectively decide on the future of energy, health, food, security and social safety net it made people come up with over 500 insanely inventive ways of the human race future, and finally the 3rd game is “evoke” “if you have a problem, and you cant solve it alone, evoke it”- African proverb. If you complete the game you will be certified by the World Bank Institute as a social innovator working with universities all over Sub-Saharan Africa to imagine there own world saving social enterprises.  All these games are simulations of getting people to achieve the “epic win” in a simulated real life situation, especially with the last game making you a certified social creative is fantastic.

“Gamers are a human resource that can be used to save the world”. Let the world changing games begin.