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Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World Paperback – 3 Feb 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224089250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089258
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 487,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The book serves as an ambitious call to arms to games designers to make the real world as satisfying as the virtual world of gaming... There are a number of astute observations here, with lots of big ideas that will undoubtedly come into focus over the coming years, and it will serve as a n effective anecdote to the relentless dismissal of gaming culture. (Davin O'Dwyer Irish Times)

Reality is broken is the most powerful justification yet for computer games as part of our central literacies - parallel to literature or movies in the way they connect our motivations and energies within the challenges of understanding and intervening in our social worlds (Pat Kane Independent)

Book Description

Visionary game designer Jane McGonigal reveals how we can harness the power of games to solve real world problems and improve our day-to-day living

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jane McGonigal's "Reality is Broken" discusses game design, improving lives, and changing the world. Sound grand? Yes, but McGonigal presents a strong argument. Far from being the downfall of a generation, the writer argues that video games are enabling collaboration on a scale previously unseen, and that through this form epic (to use the book's terminology) worldwide positive change will be enabled. Though at times lingering too long on games designed by the author (I think the book would have benefited from more variety), overall it was certainly a gripping (and I don't use that word very often) and insightful read that I would highly recommend.
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By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Dec. 2015
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The concept that real life is somehow lacking and that gaming can not only fill this void but actually improve it is an arresting one. The author did not completely persuade me in the end, though some of her methods deployed among the forgotten and denigrated members of the new underclass might have traction, but I don't think she had yet broken into that audience. Instead she demonstrates that gamers can co-operate and work in deep strength, the sort of strength that might make governments think twice. The mass of men lead lives of quiet suffering has been a commonplace for millennia, a suffering ameliorated by religion or chemicals, could gaming provide the same pleasure jags without quite the same wear and tear? Too much of the book is consumed with calling things epic and awesome (the song from the Lego Movie kept sounding in my head) and thinking that only these elements can be created from games (as against those three major opiates: reading, listening to music, and the craic). For all she oversells the process there must be something here, we don't need games to generate co-operation, but gaming itself so often is a manifestation of other interests. Gaming provides a common language, and one increasingly "spoken" by many
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I realise now that the men in my life are actually building their teamwork and social skills by playing Dungeons and Dragons Online. Who knew? until Jane McGonigal's entertaining, cogently argued defence of video-gaming.
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Format: Paperback
Simply put; this book is amazing.

I'm not a computer gamer (I haven't seriously played a computer game for almost a decade), but this book is so much more than the tag line suggests... its a guide to motivation of yourself and those around you to achieve more... This book has inspired me to make changes to my every day personal life and my working life... I personally feel more motivated and I've seen a definite increase in motivation of those people on my team towards the work we need to do as a direct result of implemeting some of the ideas in this book.

Who should read this book? Managers, Leaders, and individuals.

Any gripes? Just one; it seemed to lose its way slightly about half way through -a couple of the games that were suggested didn't inspire me at all... I worried that it was going to go downhill from here, but no; next chapter got right back on track!

Brilliant.
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As a teaching gamer, or gaming teacher, I am always on the look out for making lessons more... playable. What Jane does here is first offer an explanation of why gaming is good for you (a refreshing change from all the naysayers who are, quite clearly, wrong) before laying down a set of strategies for making like more game like. It's references are starting to date (for instance, no mention of Minecraft here) but the reasoning is sound. Next time you get accused of playing too much, produce this book and say "got to play - doctor's orders."
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If you have children and are worried about gaming ( as most parents are) READ THIS BOOK ! It will totally change your attitude to gaming and what our children can learn from it. This book gave me the tools to connect with my son and his friends in a way that other parents couldn't... and as a result, the children themselves got a better insight into what they were doing and became empowered by it. We hear all the cliches about gaming but don't know anything about the positives and the potential. Highly recommended for parents.
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I read this book in 3 days. It's a great book. The thoughts developed by Jane McGonigal are visionary. Most of us know "blue ocean strategy" ... this book is about "deep ocean strategy".
If you want to leverage the potential of people (= deep ocean) then games are a great source for inspiration. I'm not a gamer but learned that game developers and gamers are really developing new knowledge about how we can support the development of crucial or critical competencies ... yes ... competencies we will need to save our world: Eco-Systems Thinking - Global Co-Creation - Bringing Toghether and Focusing the energy and minds of people. The book is filled with great examples that help you understand how to build a appealing "game" context. But it's not about gaming ... it's about using the power of gaming to develop skills. Great, great, great ... a lot of different layers through the book ... the more experience you have in development, the deeper the book will touch you. Thanks ... Jane.
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There are three reasons not to like this book, three objections created by my brain prior to proper reading.

"Reality isn't broken, reality is reality, deal with it, don't escape from it!"
WRONG!

This is NOT McGonigal's thesis (sorry for shouting). Reality is Broken is NOT about world-flight or whining. Instead of "reality" maybe read "the way we do some things at the moment"? Not as snappy, true, but it more accurately describes her point. Of course, there are multiple ways to define reality, if you want to get philosophical about it: the on-line world is just as 'real' as the off-line world, as is the corporate world or the intellectual world. That's why we have laws regulating all of them.

The RIB thesis is based on an observable phenomenon. People are leaving the off-line world for the online world in massive, increasing and demographically representative numbers. McGonical makes two contentions about these people. This 'mass exodus' is occurring because they are finding things on-line that are not as easily available in the off-line world, perhaps not there at all, things that are basic to human well-being. And instead of trying to convince them to return or chiding them for childish/irresponsible behaviour, we should learn from what games are going right and use this perspective to right wrongs in the off-line world.

"A four hundred page book about game design for non-experts? This is going to fry my brain!"
DISMISSED!

First off, this is not a book about game design, although it includes that. McGonigal starts off, not in the land of scripting languages and codebase, but by quoting a philosopher - Bernard Suits.
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