DANI AND LIZ BOOK BLOG: Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal a Game Designer, Inspirational Speaker and New York Times Best Selling Author of  Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World to name a few of her incredible contributions and accomplishments on a global level. I find Jane to be very inspirational and would recommend her to be one to follow! ENJOY!!


The Adventure Begins from SuperBetter on Vimeo. One of the first games created by Jane was renamed as “Super Better,” after being in bed for three months due to a head concussion that became viral and helped so many ill patients throughout the globe. Also after feverish research Jane came to conclusions that individuals that shared common regrets in relationship to individuals who experienced Post-Traumatic Growth were the opposite in life views.

Super Better Quests Game we can play together in class:

Top 5 regrets shared at the end of life:
“I wish I hadn’t work so hard”
“I wish I’d stay in touch with my friends”
“I wish I had let myself be happier”
“I wish I had the courage to express my true self”
“I wish I’d led a life true to my dreams, and not what others expected of me”

Post-Traumatic Growth:
Scientist can be a spring board to unleash our best qualities and lead happier lives!
1. My priorities have changed – I’m not afraid to do what makes me happy
2. I feel closer to my friends and family.
3. I understand myself better, I know who I really am now.
4. I have a new sense of meaning and purpose.
5. I’m better able to focus on my goals and dreams.

+1 Physical Resilience
Never sitting still for more than an hour can increase your strength

+1 Mental Resilience
Tiny challenge without giving up even with it up-surd will boost your will power.

+1 Emotional Resilience
Three positive emotions for every one negative emotion over the course of an hour, a day a week you dramatically improve your health and ability to tackle any problem you are facing.

+1 Social Resilience
You get more strength friends, neighbors friends, community.
Gratitude and touch raising your trust hormone.










Below are excerpts, thoughts, projects and games shared by Liz and Dani on: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

Games for Good:
Gamers can spend a lot of time compiling collective intelligence and making effective use of it. There is much proof that gamers want to do more than just save the virtual world. Two key projects show just how much online gamers want to do real world good: the world hunger-fighting game Free Rice and the cancer-fighting game initiative Folding@home in the PlayStation 3.

This is the world’s first distributed computing initiative just for gamers. A distributed computing system is like crowdsourcing for computers. Folding @home is a system created by biologists and medical researchers at Stanford University in an effort to solve one of the greatest mysteries of human biology: how proteins fold. Within six months gamers collectively helped the folding @home network achieve supercomputing milestones never achieved by any other distributed computing network anywhere in the world.

Gamers long for opportunities to be of service to extreme scale goals.

As one gamer said, “You might as well be bragging that you helped cure cancer instead of just the game on the hardest difficulty level without dying once.”

Free Rice or how to play and feed hungry people. The gameplay is simple answer a multiple-choice vocabulary question correctly and you can earn 10 virtual grains of rice. You can stock up as much as virtual rice as you want and at the end of your game it gets converted to real rice which is donated to the United Nations world food program. So far that difference is nothing less than epic 69,24,128,710 grains of rice and counting enough to provide more then 10 million meals .


In 1996 “The Long Now Foundation” was co-founded by Steward Brand and Danny Hillis are dedicated to long term thinking and responsibility for the earth and for the survival of the human species over the next ten thousand years and beyond.  Brand says that we have to become better at strategically affecting our ecosystem.  We are facing multi-decade, multi-generation problems and solutions.  Mr. Brand feels that gamers have a head start on mastering the art of planet craft by playing what is called “god games” that are world and population management that give a single player the ability to shape the course of events on earth in a dramatic way.


Lexulous” a word game that is played Facebook

Farm Ville”  Create the farm of your dreams using hundreds of crops and trees, thousands of animals, and decorations

Sims” for example gives players godlike powers over the daily lives of individual people.

Civilization” challenges players to guide a civilization from the start of the Bronze Age, six thousand years ago through the Space Age.

Black & White” invites players to govern the entire biome of a remote island, inspire in either joyful worship or terrified obedience in the island’s tribal population by performing a combination of benevolent and evil divine ecological interventions.

Spores” invites you to create your own universe while taking you through five stages of evolution.

What all of these god games have in common is that they encourage players to practice the three skills that are critical for real planet craft; taking a long view, ecosystems and pilot experimentation.

Taking a long view means working at scales far larger than we would ordinarily encounter in our day to day lives.  Players of god games have to consider their moment by moment actions in the context of a very long future; an entire simulated human life.

Eric Weiner an independent foreign correspondent and author of  “Geography of Bliss” that has covered happiness trends through the world.  His research has confirmed that our happiness is completely intertwined with other people:  family and friends and neighbors.  Happiness is not a noun or verb it’s a conjunction.  Games like Lexlulous are intentionally designed to strengthen the connective tissue with our social networks.  We need more social conjunctions in our lives.  Globally we make the mistake of becoming less social the richer we become as individuals and as a society.  The greatest source of happiness is other people.  Money isolates us from other people.  It enables us to build walls literal and figurative around ourselves.  Games like Lexulous can help us start chipping away at those walls that we have built as a society. In 2010 there were 90 million active players playing the virtual game Farm Ville on Facebook.  One in every 75 people on the planet play Farm Ville.  Farm Ville is the first game to combine the productivity of World of Warcraft and the social connectivity of Lexulous.  The genius of Farm Ville is the social layer on top of the satisfying self-improvement work.

The author wrote, “Compared with games, reality is disconnected.  Games build stronger social bonds and lead to more active social networks.  The more time we spend interacting within our social networks, the more likely we are to generate a subset of positive emotions known as “pro-social emotions” that include, love, compassion admiration and feel good emotions that are directed toward others.

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  1. sarahgonza

    I find the story behind SuperBetter to be quite inspirational. It’s response to a real life trauma and effectiveness amongst those who have played, makes it memorable.

    In response to the five regrets shared by those who were dying, I wonder if they are more generational in a broad sense. Staying in touch with friends has changed because of social media and living life more true to their dreams may be altered because of the likelihood of people taking classes or going to college. Of course this does not render these regrets obsolete, however it makes me wonder what the top five regrets will be of Generation X & Y babies.

  2. Elizabeth Torres

    Who would think that trauma would be subject to being played with? I say we are blessed with humor and laughter being one of the miraculous healers of all time. I find just a shared smile on the subway brakes incredible barriers.

    As for generation X & Y and to come we all share fears and regrets and what I wish for them is to be able to feel for humanity as we so need it always.

  3. Danielle Reddick

    After Elizabeth and I finished our presentation on Jane McGonigal there were a few questions that were asked. We promised to blog the answers.

    Question – Is Jane McGonigal affiliated with The Long Now Foundation?

    Answer – Jane McGonigal has worked with The Long Now Foundation.

    As part of Longplayer, The Long Now Foundation hosted the Long Conversation, a relay of 19 speakers over 6 hours. This format came about as part of the Artangel Longplayer Conversations, produced by The Longplayer Trust in partnership with Artangel, a UK based arts organization founded in 1991, which “commissions and produces exceptional projects by outstanding contemporary artists” (among them, Longplayer). The first few Longplayer Conversations were envisioned as public conversations between leading cultural thinkers who had never met, to engage in a discussion inspired by the philosophical premise of a project which unfolds, in real time, over the course of a millennium. Laurie Anderson and Dorris Lessing inaugurated these conversations in 2005.

    Only in 2009, for the first live performance of Longplayer, did the relay style Long Conversation develop. This first Long Conversation unfolded between 19 people, one of which was Jane McGonigal, over the course of 12 hours; all of the audio of the conversation is available online and to download.

    Question – Has Jane McGonigal worked with Eric Weiner?

    Answer – I can’t find any research that confirms that Jane McGonigal and Eric Weiner have worked together but I would say that it is easy to come to that conclusion based on the importance that both McGonigal and Weiner put on the power of video games and the emotions that are evoked from some of the games.
    Prosocial emotions—including love, compassion, admiration, and devotion— are feel-good emotions that are directed toward others. They’re crucial to our long-term happiness because they help create lasting social bonds. there are two specific prosocial emotions that games give us: happy embarrassment and vicarious pride. Let’s take a look at why these two prosocial emotions matter, and how online games generate them better than real-world interaction.

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