Reality is Broken

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!
It’s the end of the first month of 2018. I hope you’re all doing well and that everything has been working in your favor so far. Here’s to the rest of the year!
A book I’ve been reading lately is Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. It depicts why video games are important in today’s society and how they aid us in being happy and fulfilled with our lives. While the book was published in 2011 and, thus, is a little out of date at this time, it has made me think about my love of games.
Think about why you play video games. Is it because of the challenge of saving the world? The relaxing atmosphere of caring for a virtual town? The social aspect of online video games? No matter your reasons, you wouldn’t be playing video games if you didn’t enjoy them.
There’s a particular quote near the beginning of the book that McGonigal put in from Brian Sutton-Smith, a psychologist of play: “The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.”
Depression often gives people a sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity. Games, on the other hand, give us a sense of being able to overcome obstacles, an endorphin rush when we focus on our energy on achieving a goal. By gaming, we’re focusing on an activity that we’re good at and enjoy.
In other words, McGonigal claims, “gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”
The key ideas of being happy include satisfying work, the experience or hope of being successful, social connection, and meaning, or “the chance to be part of something larger than ourselves.” Gaming gives us all of that. Rather than using games as a way to escape reality, gamers are actively making their real lives more rewarding by playing.
I’ll be honest. My day job is not at all what I want it to be. It’s stifling and not creative at all, in my opinion. Sure, my co-workers are fantastic and the job itself pays well with good benefits, but it feels like more of a chore than anything else. I’m working there to survive, not to live.
Reading this book just kind of made everything click into place. Video games were always a way for me to help save the world and pour my creativity into, such as writing a blog about gaming. I’ve met some wonderful people along the way, and gaming has opened up a few connections that I never would have had otherwise. It’s rather amazing to think about, isn’t it?

Have you read this book? What made you start to play video games?

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. “gamers are actively making their real lives more rewarding by playing”
    We absolutely are!
    I haven’t read that book, but it does sound interesting.

  2. I haven’t read the book. I think I’ll look it up though. But to answer your question I was really young when I started playing video games. So I guess you can say I was kinda born into it. What keeps me playing is how fun they can be whether you are playing alone or with your friends. They personally can give me a lift if I’m having a crappy day. And how they have evolved over the years is just so incredible. To go from playing an 8-bit game to playing a game with someone halfway around the world is amazing. I hope they keep evolving with this amazing technology we have. Video games are my passion and I would rather do this then go to a movie or binge watch a TV Show on Netflix or Hulu.

  3. I haven’t read this book but it sounds really interesting. I might see if I can read it for myself.

  4. This sounds like a good read, adding to my Want to Read list.

  5. I love that book. I always wondered why games made me feel better and accomplished. She helped me understand why.

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