As I looked at the title of Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is broken, my first premise was that this book is going to be about adults that that play games to much and are not focus on their future and there current responsibilities. I thought that there was a clear difference between avid gamers who play online virtual reality games who play 30 hours a week and those causal video gamers that go to work a 9-5 shift everyday. Reality is those two different ends of the spectrum adults are starting to come together.
It’s always been the norm to assume that “geeks” or “nerds” are the losers that play video games all day and have no friends. We assume that the socially awkward classmates or co workers that we know do not go out to parties, gatherings, or football games because they are online playing Halo, Sims, and World of Warcraft.
My question before I started reading this book really came from the second part of the books title “Why games make us better and how they can change the world”. I have never heard of a video game changing the world or making a person better. People belief is that avid video gamers are living in their parents’ basement with no or very little actually friends. They have been characterized as lazy, unmotivated, fat, and insecure individuals.
In McGonigal’s book she sheds light on the new gamer that has emerge in the past century. With social media and the emerging of applications on mobile deceives, society is being connected on a much more border term. Games are not just being made for the geek or nerd that owns the next generation console but more for the masses. Everyone is on social networks so developers are taken advantage of that. McGonigal points out games like Lexulous, which is on the social network site Facebook that plays like scrabble. This game is being played by anyone. In Reality is broken, McGonigal shows that family members are using this game to connect with each other. They have the ability to play a game together and engage in conversation while doing it. McGonigal says, “it’s easy to organize a game with anyone else, no matter where or how busy they are.”
With more and more people using video games to connect with one another; McGonigal states that the social disconnect with society of gamers have vanish. Video games “chips away” of the barrier people put up when you first meet someone. Since it is no awkward movements of that face-to-face conversation people are able to talk freely over texts on a screen or voices through a microphone.
So can McGonigal be right! Can video games create a stronger social connectivity? It seems as all answers point to yes. Yes there are psychological consequences of constant video gaming on social interaction and they are all positive. Before McGonigal’s study, researchers could argue that all psychological effects would be negative such as being socially awkward, not knowing how to interact with others, and time management problems.
Now McGonigal encourages everyone to play video games. She says the emotions we feel in the game spill over into the real world. 90 seconds of gaming can affect us for up to 24 hours. It can make us move confident, more likely to do well in the workspace, community, and school environment. So find a game you like, and start gaming!