Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: Reality is Broken

As I’ve said in the past, I’m beginning to become a bigger fan of nonfiction writing; whether history or cultural commentary, I find it an interesting addition to my monthly readings into Fantasy, Horror and Science Fiction.

Case in Point: Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World – which was a pretty interesting examination into why more and more people are spending huge amounts of their free time fighting virtual robots, unicorns and zombies. The book examines the draw that these games have (for example, feelings of productivity, useful and clearly spelled out missions, and huge emotional benefits for success and helping with the success of others) and how these attributes can be added to our real-world experience, therefore making reality an equally fun place to play.

The book reads really well – although I don’t personally have a background in game theory, I sure didn’t feel spoken down to, and I wasn’t lost in any of the author’s concepts either.  The arguments were pretty straight forward, and even though there are a few real world problems that game design might not be able to help directly, the vast number of things game design can help is pretty impressive.

I’d recommend the book for anyone who either considers gaming a waste of time, or has been told gaming is a waste of time.  The book got me pretty excited about the things in my own life I can try to modify with game design and has given me both the confidence and the interest in trying it out.

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