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Written Prep Essay

616 words - 3 pages

Jane McGonigal’s book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World explores how we as a society can harness the power of games to boost global happiness. In chapter 12, “Missions Impossible,” McGonigal discusses how the world needs more “epic wins,” a gamer term she defines as “opportunities for ordinary people to do extraordinary things-- like change or save someone’s life-- every day” (247). The term “epic win” is also used to describe a “big, and usually surprising success” (247), such as an unconventional strategy that works out well or the win of an underdog. Epic wins are crucial because, with each epic win, an individual’s “possibility space” (248) dramatically expands and individuals are thus more curious about what they can do and are more likely to take positive action again in the future. Ideally, real life would present individuals with the same kind of ...view middle of the document...

the Groundcrew project, which aims to help individuals satisfy others aspirations similarly to the way one might fulfill a Sims character’s aspirations; and 3. Lost Joules, which is an online stock market (that is yet to launch) that will allow players to make wagers on each other’s real-world energy usage (players use virtual currency which can be used inside the Lost Joules “virtual theme park”). McGonigal asserts that a growing number of gamers are getting out and doing real-world good as a result of social participation games, and are thus improving and saving real lives.
The main idea presented in this work is comparable to a similar idea presented in Dr. Jean Twenge’s Generation Me. In her 2006 book, Dr. Twenge discusses a generation which she calls “Generation Me,” which she describes as self-involved and having sky-high expectations and a need for constant praise and fulfillment. This generation has been raised alongside great technological advances. As a result, technology and media have played a large role in the lives of those in “Generation Me.” Thus is can be concluded that individuals in this generation learn much from television and other media devices. As a result, it has influenced them and continues to influence them greatly. As aforementioned, this generation is self-involved; thus it is unlikely that they will do good just for the sake of doing good. Therefore, these new social participation games are likely to interest them. They combine technology, a great interest, and fulfillment, a need; individuals get to experience the ever-satisfying feeling that they receive from epic wins whilst doing good. Thus it can be concluded that these new social participation games are a win-win; they will interest individuals in “Generation Me” and prompt them to do good for others. Like Twenge, McGonigal acknowledges and perpetuates the idea that the great technological advances abundant today are an influencing tool that holds unlimited possibility.

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