Jane McGonigal brings up some interesting points about how games can affect the real world. No, she isn’t talking about the argument shooter video games causes players to become real world shooters. She’s talking about the positives that can come from games, and how games like, “World Without Oil” can even help solve these reality crises.
I could be described as a pretty “hardcore gamer.” I play a lot of games in many different genres. One type of game that I am particularly drawn to is the challenging game. Games of this nature that come to mind include: Super Meatboy, The Binding of Isaac, and Dark Souls. I played all of those games for many hours, and when I finally did achieve my victory, I felt what McGonigal refers to as fiero. Fiero is the feeling of triumph and accomplishment that comes from games. I’m sure if anyone has ever played the mobile game, “Candy Crush,” they have felt fiero. Because of my experiences with fiero, and my lust for challenging games, I was very intrigued by what she had to say about these projects to create games that help solve real-world problems. One specific game that struck me was a game intended to help in the creation of medicines and cures (she mentions cures for cancer), in which the player would find different ways to fold proteins in each level. The studies behind this game revealed that the players were better at folding proteins than even the doctors and scientists who received training in such things. The most interesting part I’ve noted is that I see puzzle games on mobile devices all the time. What’s stopping someone from creating one that helps others? This got me to asking if games really can be used for the betterment of mankind. If game designers can team up with scientists to create games in which players’ achievements build real world achievements by focusing a gamer’s fiero, then the world may be in for a whole new era of success.
I found this great video of McGonigal talking about her book where she answers some questions about it and shares some more information, (including some specific numbers on the topics I’ve discussed here). If you like her stuff I’d for sure recommend checking it out!