Reality Is Broken

Reality Is Broken

Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

By Jane McGonigal; Julia Whelan (Performed by)

Brilliance Corporation, MP3 CD, 9781611064278

Publication Date: January 2011


More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the U.S. will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of 21. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world. Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, "Reality is Broken" uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveries to astonishing effect in virtual environments. Videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? Her research suggests that gamers are expert problem-solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges, and she helped pioneer a fast-growing genre of games that aims to turn game-play to socially positive ends.

In "Reality is Broken," she reveals how these new alternate reality games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital 21st-century challenges and she forecasts the thrilling possibilities that lie ahead.

"As addictive as Tetris, McGonigal's penetrating, entertaining look into gaming culture is a vibrant mix of technology, psychology, and sociology, told with the vision of a futurist and the deft touch of a storyteller." "Publishers Weekly" (starred review)

About the Author
Jane McGonigal is the director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times and on MTV, CNN and NPR. In 2009, BusinessWeek called her one of the ten most important innovators to watch. She has given keynote addresses at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, and the Game Developers Conference and was a featured speaker at The New Yorker Conference.

Earphones Award winner Julia Whelan grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but currently resides in Los Angeles. She is a former child actor, having appeared in multiple television shows, most notably ABC's "Once and Again." After receiving her college degree, she returned to acting and is pursuing a career in the film industry, as well as creative writing. Her audiobook credits include romance, supernatural thrillers, young adult and adult fiction.