Are Video Games Good for Society?

There is an interview with Jane McGonigal on today. For those of you who haven’t heard of Jane, she’s a game designer with an awesome approach to being… well, awesome! She explores this in a well loved TED Talk (posted here for your viewing pleasure), and in a new book that is now available called Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bhattach
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 05:40:25

    I found the New York Times reviewer’s opinion, while reviewing Sherry Turkle’s new book in last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, to be interesting in this context (and in the context of this week’s readings for the class). Turkle’s book, _Alone Together_, is not about video games, but about digital artifacts in general. Her outlook is quite dystopian.

    The reviewer perceptively comments: “We are so eager to take sides on technology, to describe the Web in utopian or dystopian terms, but maybe that’s the problem. In the end, it’s just another tool, an accessory that allows us to do what we’ve always done: interact with one other. The form of these interactions is always changing. But the conversation remains.”

    I think we see this in the readings, too. There is either euphoria or anxiety about computer games, but little recognition that by themselves these are just tools — just as there have been tools before them and other tools will be there after they have become obsolete.

    The book review is here:


  2. kirschsc
    Jan 25, 2011 @ 21:03:28

    One of the important ideas in the article mentions how new games like the Nike+system turns relatively regular runs into a challenge amongst friends. I feel like every time I read an article about children sports, there are ridiculous new rules that demote competition. This could mean eliminating the score, or altering the rule books. In all the sports I played growing up, I always remembered there being a score and maybe at the end everyone received a trophy, but I think that competition from such an early age was important. I do not think keeping a score for young children would cause any child issues growing up and that is why these video games are so important. A score, or beating a boss, another player on-line gives children something to improve on if they fail. I cannot imagine a child who loses in a sport or video game giving up the next day because they lost and video games offer and even greater chance to persever because they can merely start over.

    I know this was a small part of the article, but I think the competition of video games is an important aspect that often gets overlooked. I think any type of healthy competition is valuable, especially in the molding years, because there is a point, in sports, education, or even in video games where having a competitive edge can prove to be a great characteristic.


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