Captain Obvious: life should be more like a videogame

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Jane McGonigal thinks that life should be more like a videogame. We’re not going to argue.

Last week at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, McGoingal channeled the powers of Captain Obvious to tell her audience that playing games is more rewarding and fun than life normally is. Her crack team at the Institute for the Future, a nonprofit organization that helps identify emerging trends, to busted that one open for us.

McGoingal may be on to something, though. She thinks that the reward system of videogames should be applied to everyday life. In games, players’ characters are valued for their abilities and role, and are rewarded for their accomplishments. In life, you have to pat your own back. 

“For a lot of gamers, their experience of life is that it is not sufficiently deigned for them to be good at, in the way that games are,” McGonigal said.

The Statesman article also talks about an emerging field called happiness research and how it relates to games and our lives. Research shows that people are are happier when they have four things going on: satisfying work to do, the experience of being good at something, time spent with people they like and the chance of being a part of something bigger. Sounds like a MMO to me.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of applying gaming’s reward systems to everyday life. But, I think that most gamers already think along these lines. Working is level grinding. Sleeping and eating restore HP. And, for me, gaming at the end of the day is my reward for working hard. That’s kind of meta, isn’t it.

Do you see yourself using gaming reward systems in your daily life?

[Thanks, JR] 

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Dale North
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