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assignments, reality is broken

Reality is Broken: Part One

The first part of McGonigal’s book focuses on the largely positive psychological effects of gaming. This evidence is foundational to her primary argument in this book: that gaming provides a better structure for addressing the world’s problems than our current social structures and institutions (schools, workplaces, governments, etc.). Below are some key terms and figures from Part One. I’d like you to take two of these (or maybe identify another important concept that I didn’t list) and write about it. Sure, you should give us some sense of how the concept is working in the text but you might also do some light web research to add some larger context. I’d also like to hear if you experience this effect playing games (or in other activities), so bring some personal viewpoint to the matter.

  • Bernard Suits/unnecessary obstacles
  • Fiero
  • Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi/flow
  • Martin Seligman/Positive Psychology
  • Autotelic Activiy
  • Fun, Failure, and Optimism
  • Prosocial emotions
  • Epic environments and awe

Later, come back to the site and write a comment on at least two of your classmates’ posts about the book. Try to elaborate one what they have said by adding more information, asking questions, or talking about your own experience. I’d like to see every post have at least one comment, so if come back late to this task, try to find a post that no one has commented on yet.

Finally, read the comments to your own post and write your own comment in response.

As we move forward with the class, I’ll try not to give such ham-fisted, procedural directions. After all, what I’m describing is the regular operation of online discussion or even just everyday conversation. Our course blog will work best if we write posts and comments that respond to one another and carry our conversation in a general direction. I don’t expect you to read every single post on the site, but I do expect that you read enough to follow the threads of conversation.



About Alex Reid

Associate Professor and Director of Composition in the English Department at the University at Buffalo


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