Games could help society, but are gamers doing their part?

I have found Reality is Broken to be an interesting read. McGonigal proposes creative ideas to help “fix” reality. Even though I think some of her concepts would benefit society, I don’t think they will ever be realized on a large scale.

I originally had a question about gamer regret and if that would pose a challenge if society did embrace turning reality into games. After continuing reading, I became less worried about gamer regret and more interested in what would happen when people grow bored of “the game,” which they eventually do. “Chore Wars isn’t the kind of game you’d want to play forever; like all good games, their destiny is to become boring eventually, the better you get at them” (123). McGonigal does go on to say that even after Chore Wars gets boring, it’s still gives you a positive memory of doing housework, which should change the way you think about chores. That might be true, but when a game gets boring, what happens next? Is a new game created? Who creates all these games? Also, who gets paid to create all these games?

The section on the Quest to Learn school really got me thinking. There is absolutely no way that public schools could be integrated into that sort of curriculum for a number of reasons. McGonigal doesn’t provide any ideas or follow up on obstacles standing in the way of opening schools like Quest to Learn, she merely just gives the example.  While I think it’s good to get the ideas out to society in the form of her book, I think it would have been more helpful to make a plan or give suggestions on re-creating this in other schools.

One of the main reasons I believe schools like Quest to Learn will never be realized on a large scale is money. Public schools budgets are already slim and are being cut everyday. Teachers, some of the most important people in kid’s lives, are severely underpaid. They have limited access to minimal resources and are forced to focus on things like good scores on standardized testing. Do you I could have applied to Elon without a GRE score, even if I had said I was “boss level?” This is all while game companies make millions of dollars each year.

I would have liked to hear from McGonigal how gamers are taking an active role in making things better instead of just theory about how games can cure society. I would be interested to read about the heads of gaming companies donating some their extrinsic rewards (fame, money and beauty) that they don’t care about, according to McGonigal, to create more schools like Quest to Learn.


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