McGonigal’s Ideas; Not So Epic

McGonigal makes valid points throughout her book and is irrefutable at times, but overall I think she takes it a bit too far.  I agree with the fact that video games can stimulate the brain and in the long run actually do good for it, but turning life into a game is pretty asinine and juvenile.  Her Fix Number Six; Epic Scale, is completely overboard.  “Compared with games, reality is trivial.  Games make us a part of something bigger and give epic meaning to our actions.”  McGonigal’s SuperBetter game may have helped her through her difficult recovery from a concussion, but this cannot be applied to everyone.  I think goals can be achieved without turning it into an actual game; awarding yourself points and power boosters, it’s striving for something in reality that strengthens you as a person and builds character.  The virtual world and real world should never overlap.

McGonigal writes, “What the world needs now are more epic wins, opportunities for ordinary people to do extraordinary things — like change or save someone’s life — every day.”  I cannot see how playing a game for an insane amount of hours every week will “save someone’s life.”  I think her ideas at face-value sound great, but when you actually delve deeper into them they are exaggerated and plain crazy.  We are at a point in the world where everything we do is completely digital; internet, social media, gaming, it is taking over and if anything, that is what should change.  What ever happened to reading a book or playing on a sport’s team?  That’s enough to bring confidence, motivation, and “epic wins.”

I agree that video games can help ADD, I have seen numerous articles on how doctors are attempting to help their patients with specially designed games to figure out what is happening in the brain, but turning life into a game and mixing realities is a recipe for disaster.

This video is pretty bland and boring, but it basically shows how we can hack the brain and see if it is under active or over active and subsequently treat it as necessary.  Therefore gaming can be positive, but McGonigal takes it much farther than it should be.

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5 thoughts on “McGonigal’s Ideas; Not So Epic”

  1. I completely agree with you. I think that her theories are in the right place, like she definitely means well, but shes going way too far with it. I consider myself a pretty avid gamer, but I also enjoy life, I really don’t need the two to evolve into one. I enjoy them just fine separated. And like you said, life has it’s fair share of “epic win” moments, hell even simple things in life can yield some pretty damn satisfying results. I’m all for people developing computer programs that “feel” like games that can aid with certain things, like that website “lumosity” (never used it, but I respect the premise), I just feel there should be a line drawn, and video games should stay what they are. I want my Fallout 4 and Mass Effect 4, and I’m sure when they come out I’ll have to put real life on hold, but that’s whats fun about them.

    1. I agree, I find it much more beneficial to sit down and read a book or go outside and get fresh air, rather than festering inside all day glued to a TV screen. And a line should definitely be drawn, but the problem is there can be no way of determining where it should be drawn.

  2. I thought that I was ythe only other person who also felt this way. I NEVER understood how people can see and find a correlation between life amd video games. Now I do not see anything wrong with people playing video games a couple of hours throughout the week, but when people revolve their lives around video games, I find that to be a problem. People need to understand that there is a difference between reality and fiction. Cronic gamers who make it their life’s mission to only play video games need to come to a realization that constant gaming will do more harm than good. Sometimes we have to enjoy our reality!

  3. As much as I think of games being beneficial in the intense, competitive, and pressured world we live in, I do think that Jane McGonigal takes things a little too far. Reality and fantasy of video games should be kept apart because there must be a way of making reality something to deal with on out own.

  4. As I read, I felt McGonigal had moderation and purpose in mind all the way through, and I don’t feel her ideas were that outlandish. The “epic scale” fix she suggested tied in with the game she mentioned, “The Extraordinares,” which introduced the idea of a lot of small contributions to give way to something much bigger. Basically, it’s just a big team effort, sort of like someone saying “it’s close by, so I’ll just bike to work today” and then poof– you did your part to reduce smog emissions. +10XP… if you feel you need to make it into that kind of a game, that’s cool. But for me, if I can just do something like that and think of the fact that it’s for the greater good, then hey, that works too. It’s a little bit of winning, and maybe you turn it into a game, maybe you don’t. That’s how I understood fixes 6 and 12– it’s like you said michaela03, we -can- achieve these goals without turning it into a game. But, turning it into a game, at least at first, to kickstart a good habit or something like that can be more motivation to get up and achieve those goals. Basically, it’s a sort of boost to help achieve those goals.

    And with regards to playing a game for long hours every week– I do recall at least two instances in the book where she advises against doing this: on page 44, when she mentions WoW’s “fatigue system”, and also writes that “We need games that make us happier even when we’re not playing,” and I can’t find where exactly it is (somewhere in the first 50 pages,) but she also restates in Appendix 2 in the back of the book the first golden rule for gamers: “Don’t play more than twenty-one hours a week,” because much past that point, she says, your real life starts being malaffected and the cons start to outweigh the pros, so to speak. Thus, even McGonigal is clearly in favor of limiting hours spent playing.

    As far as real life activities, she did write this book with the intent that people would read it, so I don’t imagine that she wants people to override their reality with games, but rather use games to augment their lives and the lives of others. Sports are great for creating fiero too, if you can win. But for some introverts and other non-sporting types, that may not be a viable option for them. Maybe they aren’t very good or something. Do people need to let them win, just so they can hold onto their pride? Perhaps they are very good at Halo, though. Well hey, look at that. They found something they’re better at that they can win under their own power. They took on the challenge voluntarily, and they overcame it. Victory, and an augmentation to their reality that just so happened to make their day and make them feel better, too.

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