McGonigal on gaming as a lifestyle

CNN has just published a lovely video with a charming Jane McGonigal who explains why games are great, and why we all need to start playing more. I can not embed the video here (at least from their site), so you need to view it there. But there is a bonus for doing so, since the story tells not only about Jane but also introduces other ten great thinkers and practitioners who will be talking later at the TED2010.

McGonigal tells, albeit briefly, about another ’serious game’ she designed for the World Bank Institute. There is no information about the game at their site yet, but as explained by Jane, this will be a 10-week long game in the area of ’social innovation’. While going through different ‘missions’ and ‘quests’, the players will be also learning and honing their skills as social innovators and entrepreneurs, which could eventually bring them a certificate from the WBI.

The loveliest part of the story is not in such ’serious information’ pieces, but rather in the small personal vignettes, such as a night-long fight with the Furniture Boss. It is likely such an embodiment of gaming and playfulness into the daily fabric, in our way of thinking, that could change the social dynamics, and not the specially designed ‘environments’ and ‘game spaces’. Sure, it is not possible to develop this gaming literacy without such ‘playgrounds’, but the ultimate goal is an ‘ambient gaming’, as proposed by Ben Schouten, from the Dutch Fontys High School, gaming as a lifestyle, as an integral part of social fabric.

“Ambient gaming implies taking the everyday stuff of life and turning it into a game, and yet gaming is not limited to a single device at a single time, but is intertwined with daily activities, like scribbling on a piece of paper while being on a phone”. – Trend Book 2009

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