I owe a lot to Final Fantasy X.
Few people have made more effort to speak positively about video games in public than game designer, author, and researcher Jane McGonigal. She's the opposite of all those people who trash games in the media and, in this week's Quick Q&A, she's got four answers for us and one big question for all of you.
At Big Questions Online, game developer/author Jane McGonigal runs down the many ways gaming can be good for you.
The usually-optimistic game designer Jane McGonigal has been thinking about whether those of us who love to play video games will regret it in the end. She keeps meeting people who think gamers will. She keeps meeting people who doubt any of us will wish we played more games.
Gamification is the act of applying video game-like rewards to non-gaming situations as a form of motivation. Imagine earning experience points for taking out the trash, or scoring well on a customer service survey, or learning how to create homemade explosives for use in terrorist acts.
Game designer Jane McGonigal tried to convince Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert yesterday that playing video games helps people to be more confident. He's got his unique way of interpreting things.
In one frame, a mom who cut her kids off from video games and other electronics for six months. In the right frame, a game designer who says kids benefit from up to three hours of gaming a day.
Only video games can save the world, says Jane McGonigal, but only if we dedicate more time to playing them, some 21 billion hours of game time per week needed to survive the next century.
Jane McGonigal believes in gamers, because they're trained to believe they can win. She's built an alternate-reality game to tap that confidence and channel it into good works benefiting gamers' communities, with the larger goal of fostering empowerment in Africa.