Jane McGonigal, Games Researcher Speaking At ‘The School Of Life’ On 24th OctoberWritten by Debbie Timmins on October 6, 2010 · Filed under Games, Internet
The outstanding creator of Halo 2 promo game ilovebees and games researcher Jane McGonigal is coming to London in October to talk at The School of Life about productivity. Here at Zath we’re always interested in making things better so we’ll be checking it out. In the meantime, we thought we’d have a look at her TED talk from earlier this year.
McGonigal has some really interesting ideas on how to harness gameplay for the greater good. Did you know that by February 2010 the human race had spent 5.93 million years playing World of Warcraft? Or that by the age of 21 the average person growing up in a country with a strong gaming culture has amassed 10,000 hours of online gaming experience? That’s the equivalent to 8 years of formal schooling. McGonigal proposes that we use the gaming staples of positive feedback and something she calls “blissful productivity” to harness that time and put it to good use.
Over the past 3 years, she’s designed three games that aim to do exactly that. World Without Oil was the world’s first serious alternative reality game (ARG). 1700 players blogged about how they would live during a 32 week oil crisis, providing an incredible wealth of creative solutions. Reports showed that most of the players kept up their oil-conserving habits when the game was over. Superstruct was a 2008 massively-multiplayer online forecasting game that asked people collaborate, inventing the future of food distribution, security and other life essentials in a world where the human race was doomed to extinction within 23 years.
This year she launched Evoke, a game to teach social innovation skills to people. Gamers were given a weekly challenge based on a real-world problem and rewarded credit for posting the story of how they tackled the problems in real life.
It’s an intriguing way to inspire and I’ve seen a growing trend towards “game-ifying” real life; FourSquare and Gowalla are probably the two best known examples. I’m really looking forward to hearing McGonigal’s ideas on the 24th October, just a take a look at the video below and if Jane McGonigal sounds like the kind of person you’d be interested in hearing speak, then be sure to get a ticket her School of Life talk!