McGonigal’s Theory Could Help People

Jane McGonigal’s dedication to the research of beneficial aspects of video games has gamers feeling a little less guilty about the amount of time they may spend playing video games. I believe her points on the psychological and emotional benefits contributed in altering my biased mindset on making video games a priority to benefit the world around us. A subject I found most interesting is her discussion of social connectivity. Thanks to games linked to social media sites such as Facebook, you can connect to your account, play your game such as Lexulous, and chat with a family member or friend. You are able to build that happy, feel-good emotion while also feeling the prossocial emotions of love and comfort. There are players who may be far from their family members in which this game allows them to converse and be silly by teasing one another, or as McGonigal mentions, “trash-talking.” The opportunity to tease someone in a playful manner is something that brings us joy, and can even bring us closer to the person. “We crave the distinctly rewarding feeling we get from a good game when we soundly beat, or are beaten, by people we really like,” (83). While some groups play Warioware: Smooth Moves as a means to increase social contact with one another, there are others who prefer to be around people, just without communication. This is what is called ambient sociability. In World of Warcraft, people enjoy being near others, but not speaking. I believe that games can help those who are introverts, or not as comfortable being sociable or around people. In this generation, social media makes it easier to speak to people without actually dealing with them physically. Games are also a great way to break the ice. For instance, if you are entering a significant others family party or meeting new people, a video game could be the solution to help make you feel less nervous about communicating. By playing a game such as Warioware: Smooth Moves or even Just Dance, you can have fun and loosen up, which will help in getting to know others to be more comfortable in speaking to them. Overall, McGonigal has made some interesting points on videogames positive effects to society, which I agree on, especially with the quote, “What’s needed instead is for games to go beyond flow and fiero, which make us happy in the moment, to provide a more lasting kind of emotional reward. We need games that make us happier when we’re not playing. Only then will we find the right balance between playing our favorite games and making the most of our lives,” (McGonigal 44).
I have also found this video of James Gee discussion the benefits of using the outline of games in the school system. Rather than continuing with the test taking skills that he believes should not be the base of a student’s ability, we teach them to solve the problems at hand and achieve the goal, such as the game Halo. I agree with this video in that the new media is a main source in society today and that we should start adapting to it more in school systems. This will benefit students in many ways that are discussed in McGonigal’s book, such as empowering the students to continue to work to achieve their goals. They can become more social and better at problem solving.


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