Reality is broken : why games make us better and how they can change the world / Jane McGonigal.

by McGonigal, JaneLooking glass.

Publisher: London : Jonathan Cape, 2011.Description: 388 pages ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780224089258; 0224089250.Subject(s): Computer games -- Social aspectsLooking glass | Video games -- Social aspectsLooking glassNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 364-378) and index.
Item type Home library Collection Class number Status Date due Barcode Item reservations
Short loan Central Saint Martins
Main collection
Printed books 306.487 MCG (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Available 54114549
Long loan London College of Communication
Main collection
Printed books 794.801 MCG (Browse shelf (Opens below)) Issued 10/01/2022 54127485
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

More than 31 million people in the UK are gamers.

The average young person in the UK will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of twenty-one.
What's causing this mass exodus?

According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal the answer is simple: videogames are fulfilling genuine human needs.

Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science and sociology, Reality is Broken shows how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy, and utilized these discoveries to astonishing effect in virtual environments. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, she reveals how gamers have become expert problem solvers and collaborators, and shows how we can use the lessons of game design to socially positive ends, be it in our own lives, our communities or our businesses.

Written for gamers and non-gamers alike, Reality is Broken sends a clear and provocative message: the future will belong to those who can understand, design and play games.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 364-378) and index.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction: Reality Is Broken (p. 1)
  • Part 1 Why Games Make Us Happy
  • 1 What Exactly Is a Game? (p. 19)
  • 2 The Rise of the Happiness Engineers (p. 35)
  • 3 More Satisfying Work (p. 52)
  • 4 Fun Failure and Better Odds of Success (p. 64)
  • 5 Stronger Social Connectivity (p. 77)
  • 6 Becoming a Part of Something Bigger Than Ourselves (p. 95)
  • Part 2 Reinventing Reality
  • 7 The Benefits of Alternate Realities (p. 119)
  • 8 Leveling Up in Life (p. 146)
  • 9 Fun with Strangers (p. 168)
  • 10 Happiness Hacking (p. 183)
  • Part 3 How Very Big Games Can Change the World
  • 11 The Engagement Economy (p. 219)
  • 12 Missions Impossible (p. 247)
  • 13 Collaboration Superpowers (p. 266)
  • 14 Saving the Real World Together (p. 296)
  • Conclusion: Reality Is Better (p. 345)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 355)
  • Appendix: How to Play (p. 358)
  • Notes (p. 364)
  • Index (p. 379)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

As addictive as Tetris, McGonigal's penetrating, entertaining look into gaming culture is a vibrant mix of technology, psychology, and sociology, told with the vision of a futurist and the deft touch of a storyteller. For the nearly 183 million Americans who will spend an average of 13 hours a week playing games, McGonigal's book is a welcome validation of their pursuits. But for those who don't understand, or who may worry that our growing preoccupation with games is detrimental to society and culture, McGonigal argues persuasively that games are in fact improving us. "Game design isn't just technological craft," she argues, "it's a 21st Century way of thinking and leading." And games, she argues, particularly the new wave of Alternative Reality Games, are not about escapism but a powerful new form of collaboration and community building. The book moves effortlessly from Herodotus to Halo, stitching together an intellectually stimulating view of human culture past, present, and future. And while not downplaying the potential for negative consequences, such as "gamer addiction," McGonigal makes an inspiring case for the way games can both enhance our personal happiness and help society. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


This volume can change the reader's world. McGonigal (director, game and research development, Institute for the Future) highlights the relationship between games and happiness, offering a three-part treatment that synthesizes research from sociology, psychology, and game studies. In the first part, the author explores how games are designed to elicit happiness via features like unnecessary obstacles, real-time feedback, and clear goals. She explains how games spur positive emotions through satisfying work with a hope of success, fun failure, stronger social connectivity, and epic scale. In part 2, she looks at alternate reality games--"gameful ways of interacting with the real world and living our real lives" in order to achieve a more meaningful existence and personal happiness. And in the third part, McGonigal showcases ten games built to help make the world a better place. For example, the Folding@home game on PlayStation 3 helped Stanford University researchers investigate how proteins fold. Written in clear, compelling prose and shored up by a body of positive-psychology research in particular, this book simultaneously offers a game-design primer, a self-help book, a resource for workplace managers, and a utopian manifesto. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. N. A. Baker Earlham College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Jane McGonigal was born in 1977. She is a graduate of Fordham University and the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently the Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future. She is the author of Reality Is Broken and SuperBetter.

(Bowker Author Biography)