Jane McGonigal: Profile of a Gamer

 

Jane Mc Gonigal would argue the purpose, usefulness, and productivity of online games with anyone. She’d argue that her profession is doing a massive job to improve life on Planet Earth, as well as to help solve some of the major world problems. This game designer has a focused goal, a reason for working even harder to make her dream come true.

It turns out that Jane, who works with the Institute for the Future, has researched the physical, mental, social, and emotional benefits of online gaming. She’s learned from her own experience that it can help in the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury, and other illnesses. She’s experienced her own recovery from the use of a wellness game that she wrote to help herself recover.

“A traumatic event doesn’t doom us to suffer indefinitely. Instead, we can use it as a springboard to unleash our best qualities and lead happier lives.” ~ Jane McGonigal

Jane speaks to audiences, introducing them to the life benefits of online gaming; not because she gains financially from people’s participation, but because those in her audiences benefit from the knowledge.

“My goal for the next decade is to try to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games.” ~ Jane McGonigal

For her the emphasis isn’t on winning, but on cooperation, creative thinking, and problem solving. She cites the research to back up her claims of the medical, social, and emotional benefits to those who play games. She also points out the problem solving abilities that are boosted through such online gaming.

She says, “Avatars are a way to express our true selves, our most heroic, idealized version of who we might become.”

She goes on to explain that gamers learn their capabilities within the games, which allows them to bring those new abilities out into the real world.

Jane wants to see all of that innovative problem solving turned to solving the world’s problems. She’s even created games that help players change their survival perspectives. One game forces the player to learn to live in a world without oil and oil products. Another game asks the player to survive global food reduction scenarios.

She believes that players who can innovate, survive, shift priorities away from winning to cooperation live more productive, happier, and more creative lives and share those abilities with those around them.

“Reality is broken, says Jane McGonigal, and we need to make it work more like a game.”

If the billions of online gamers concur and turn their abilities to solving all the smaller problems, she believes the bigger challenges we face today might be reduced, if not eliminated. Surely an hour a day isn’t too much to ask for such a global payoff.

If a global payoff seems too big, think on this.

“If you can manage to experience three positive emotions for every one negative emotion … you dramatically improve your health and your ability to successfully tackle any problem you’re facing.” ~ Jane McGonigal

 

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