They are a good thing… I promise.
Before I started readying Reality is Broken, I thought that videos games were a complete waste of time. I felt that my generation was ruining their brain and that there could be better things to do. However, Jane McGonigal changed my perspective on that.
From what I have been able to conclude from her book is that…
I’ve officially come to the conclusion that games can be a good addition to a life. Games allow others to connect on a social level while allowing to work on personal problem solving skills. However, I find myself asking the question as to why people become so invested in a particular game… Jane McGonigal provides four principles that relate to the “Player Investment Design.”
I’m sure many of use remember our parents telling us to be careful when using the internet, and this is still a very valid worry to keep in the back of our minds. However, now is the time that we are able to connect with people from all walks of life and this is through simple interaction in video games or the world wide web.
Reading back on my second post about Jane McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken, McGonigal notes the four different secrets to happiness and how a game can provide us these secrets. One of these secrets that McGonigal touches one is that humans crave a social connection. As a biologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth, I have had to read different studies that focus on the social interaction that animals crave. I believe that this is a very basic need in life and I can see how video games can fulfill this need.
Jane McGonigal provides her reader’s a “fix” in each chapter that helps describe how video games can be a positive addition into someone’s life. In chapter 7, her fix is that “compared to games, reality is hard to get into. Games motivate us to participate more fully in whatever we’re doing.”
To participate in something ‘wholeheartedly’ means you are willing to get involved, that you stay interested, and that you are sincerely enthused about being involved. Now the biggest challenge my classmates and I saw on this “fix” is that games could have a tendency to make things too fun which could take away from the true idea of what a chore is. We have to ask ourselves… is this a problem?
I would say that most of kids in my generation or before grew up with the notion that chores were a required part of childhood. I would wake up in the morning during summer break and there on the counter was the dreaded post-it note with the four things I needed to do that day before my mother got home, or else. I understood that chores needed to be done before other things could happen, and I rarely received a reward for doing said chores.
Kids growing up with access to a game such as ChoreWars, are rewarded for activities that were once expected by my generation and before. Now this may be a good way to initiate or make light of something that is generally boring, but are we possibly setting these kids up for failure? My main concern is that kids won’t learn the responsibility factor that was drilled into our heads as young kids. Questions we need to confront are things like — will kids just do the task halfheartedly to get it done with and receive an award? Or will they be able to understand at a certain point that this is what being an adult consists of?
Don’t get me wrong, I am always for adding a little fun to the many mundane activities we have to do on a daily basis, but will there be any negative consequences to this?
Often times I think many people view video games as a negative entity in our lives… Before I started reading McGonigal’s book, Reality is Broken, I totally thought this was the true. Can you blame me though? Today I see my 14 year old brother play 4+ hours of Call of Duty each day and in high school, I had a boyfriend who would blow of plans with his friends so he could play more video games… As a 16 years old girl, how annoying did you think that became?
Yet McGonigal gives us plenty of reasons as to why and how video games can be a positive addition to our life — WAIT, what? How can video games be a positive addition to our lives?
Throughout the beginning McGonigal’s work in Reality is Broken, she notes the four defining traits of a game and what they can provide for the player. The four traits include a goal, the rules, the feedback system, and voluntary participation. The four different traits combined can provide game platforms with an overall pleasing experience to the player(s).