It’s frustratingly easy to criticize McGonigal’s work. The credibility of her argument hinges on vague psychological citations and self-produced blanket statements on current global temperaments. She assumes her readers are bored with life. I am not, so dealing with this problem kept me from becoming engaged in her work. Her writing style flatly and systematically explores her vision, aligning the text with the technical and inartistic. The text lacks both the pleasures of literary mastery and a grounding in a reality that I recognize.
Having said that, I found Reality is Broken to offer fascinating insight into reality design. McGonigal is not a writer. She is a game designer. Similarly, Reality is Broken is not a book; it’s a game. McGonigal attempts to design a reality for her reader that feels like a game. She is trying to bridge the gap between playing and not playing with the medium of literature. Her book becomes the rulebook for the game of life.
Our subjective perspectives make each of our understanding of reality different. McGonigal projects her interpretation of the reality onto the reader as the basis for her argument. This is not congruent with my experience of Earth and I’m sure many of you had similar thoughts (I was particularly thrown by her weight scientifically objectified vision of happiness). Let’s just get to it:
-Videogames are a great metaphor for life. They are fun and risky and have strong psychological rewards. We definitely should be getting these things out of life.
-Reading Reality is Broken took me out of life and made me crave it. Good for the book’s agenda, bad for the book.
-The book talks about making a game out of everything, but the book’s format was not a game. Why? This drove me crazy. It was not engaging. If your going to use the medium of text, you need understand the art of writing has always endeavored to do the this. Content is bound to medium. I understand McGonigal is not a writer. She does not have the ability to wield text like a game in itself. But there was no reason she couldn’t directly include self-referential insight that related the reading the book to a game. That would have been sticky. That would have really bridged the gap between game and reality.
-Videogame terminology is an advanced way to discuss maximizing life. +1 rad point
-Everyone should be actively designing their reality rather than passively accepting a given framework.
-Fully utilizing technology, especially in networking contexts like MMOs, is key to unlocking human potential and creating a better real world.
-Reality could be like a constant boss level. We only have one life, so the pressure is on. We aren’t necessarily wagering that mortality, but we are wagering quality and happiness. It seems like material and social success would naturally follow.
-Designed reality and living in a delusional perspective have a fine line. Balancing the game of life takes care and active networking with friends, family, and society.
These are some of my main thoughts from the book. Even though it was a bear to get through, the book has some good insight. My biggest problem, as I mentioned above, is that the book was not a fun game to read! Why not? I’d pose the same question about this class.