I’ve decided to look at reality through the eyes of McGonigal and have realized finally that her attempts at getting people to engage gaming is an attempt at expanding our social engagement. I found a very interesting fix in a book you would closely regard as one that wants to tap into your gaming perceptions. Tip #9: More fun with strangers
I thought that there could be no real translation from video game to reality and I thus gave this book and McGonigal no chance to prove otherwise. I so stand corrected and share the many interesting, thought provoking ideas that she has instilled through this book. I turn to the book and comment on the Smithsonian Art Museum attempting to create a new model membership for their museum, it goes on to state that the museum would like, as part of membership, contributions from members and collaborate outside of the museum online. This concept is not only interesting but has such as huge impact on sociality in general. A ghost of a Chance game is the title and it plays on the focus of art and how it may whisper to you as you pass by.
The other great game that McGonigal mentions is “Bounce.” A telephone conversation game that involves talking to other generations. I think in our present time we never talk anymore, we rely on texting and email and social media to communicate, which is fine, the technology is there, lets use it, but we need to have more conversation with those that don’t embrace the technological change the world has endured. The older generations can teach us about their history and stories.
Play on cruel world! Gaming has meaning.
One of my favorite chapters is chapter 2, “The Rise of the Happiness Engineers,” because it forces us to take a close look at a society we take to be very normal and realize how flawed it might actually be. I found the idea of “flow,” “the satisfying, exhilarating feeling of creative accomplishment and heightened functioning” to be captivating. It encompasses the idea that if one does something one loves, it never feels like work.
My question to the public is as follows: do you think that our education system would be improved if it was better adapted to meet “flow”? For example, maybe kids could spend their earlier years figuring out what they are really interested in based on what they gravitate toward, and then take more specific classes that supplement that interest as they get older. In this way, large groups of kids would not all be stuck taking the same level of math, science, English, etc. all the way through high school; school would be a place to develop what they were already interested in so that they would excel in that field rather than just being average in all fields.
I am particularly enthralled with this idea because I feel that it would have benefitted me a lot, and almost feel indignant that my education did not take this form. I have always loved to read and write, and have long harbored the intention to write a book one day. With that being said, I have spent long, stressful hours poring over math and science books just to get a passing grade, when I would have gladly signed up for more English classes that could have helped me along the path of novel writing.
This topic is very interesting to me because I am thinking of becoming a teacher one day. I believe that this method would solve a lot of problems that are faced in schools today, such as lack of motivation, ridiculous amounts of homework. etc. I would appreciate any feedback on this idea of changing the structure of our schools today, and any ideas on how to make it happen or potential problems you might see with it.
Amongst McGonigal’s many so-called, “fixes,” one of the ones that stood out to me was her eighth one that was titled, “Meaningful Rewards When We Need Them Most.” Within this section, she targeted something that I actually really agree with. On page 149, McGonigal asserted, “Games, of course, help put people back in control. Real gameplay is always by definition voluntary; it is always an exercise of our own freedom. Meanwhile, progressing toward goals and getting better at a game instills a sense of power and mastery.” I think she made a very accurate point because in today’s society, people tend to always want to be the best at everything and achieve the highest that they can. That is not to say that having those desires or dreaming big is wrong at all. Playing games, affords the opportunity for a person to be in competition with themselves and maybe even if its a multi-player game, for them to work their way up through levels, to ultimately have beat the game. There is a satisfaction of self-reward that accompanies being able to figure out or beat a game.
There is an aspect to this that I would be skeptical about, however. Personally, I think that this mentality on self-mastery through video games could lead today’s and future generations to be, in a way, unaccepting of failures or maybe being “second best.” If a person tries endlessly to master one video game and for some reason they are unable to do so, it could bring upon feelings of negative self worth, maybe depression, and severe anxiety (at extreme levels, of course). While this would not always be the case, for those who have strong attachments to the game, this could invoke feelings of self stupidity and could potentially lead to harmful or rash outbursts. I believe that video games do run that high risk, but I suppose that any hobby could run the same risks, so it is definitely something that video game creators should keep in mind, especially when coming up with levels of difficulty in games.
Sorry, I realized that the deadline on the syllabus for the grade contract is Monday, June 2nd.
It’s time for you all to write your own posts on our week’s reading, which you should be completing today.
First, some technical matters: if you have accepted your invitation to the WordPress site, you can log in (if you haven’t already, there is a log in link at the bottom of the left sidebar). If you haven’t accepted your invitation and cannot find it, please email me. Once you are logged in, you can see a black navigation bar at the top of the site. If you click on ENG 380: New Media, you’ll see a dropdown menu that will allow you to create a New>Post. Writing a post is fairly easy. You can add photos, videos, links and so on. When you are one the post writing screen, you’ll see categories in the right sidebar. Please select McGonigal for this post. When you are done, just Publish the post and you’ll be done.
So what should you write about? Well, you should read the Posting and Commenting Guidelines for general information. However there are many possible topics to discuss with this book.
- Pick any one of the “fixes” McGonigal identifies
- Any of the specific games she discuses
- The different kinds of personal and social problems gaming can solve
Do you agree with her? Are you skeptical? Is there a particular thing she suggests that you want to try? Has she changed your view on games?
Please email me to tell me which grade contract you want to follow by 11:59PM (Eastern Time) Friday. Read the syllabus and this post for more info on contract. Email me with questions.
The basic premise of McGonigal’s book is that we can address social problems through the mechanisms of gaming because gaming offers strong psychological advantages in generating happiness and a sense of meaning in our lives. The first part of this book offers a number of interesting concepts for us to address. I’ll just point to a few:
- unnecessary obstacles
- intrinsic reward
- flexible optimism
- prosocial emotions
- vicarious pride (naches)
Continue reading gaming and happiness