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Reality is Broken: Why Games Matter and How They Can Change the World

January 27, 2011

TLC Book Tours hooked me up again with another fascinating read. This time the book feeds right into my total geekdom and I LOVED it.

Reality is Broken: Why Games Matter and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal is an absolutely engaging book and has truly made me look at the gaming culture and game theory in a brand new light.Β  I’ve always been interested in videogames, (I’m even taking a class on videogames this semester!) but I never realized the potential and power of gameplay. This book changed the way I see play.

This book inspired me to incorporating more gamefulness into my life. My husband and I have started using Chore Wars, one of many examples McGonigal gives for making mundane tasks more gameful.Β  In the first week, we had done more housework than usual, and the feeling we got from seeing all the chores we’d accomplished each day was magical. On top of that, we got a kick out of fighting a Laundrosaurus Rex while doing a load of laundry or encountering an enraged shopper while grocery shopping.

The secret to motivation and feeling productive revolves around making real life more like a game. All of my friends working for start-ups, pay attention. McGonigal has the secret to success and she gives many examples. Make people enjoy doing work by making it feel like a game. So simple but so effective. Of course, McGonigal explains it all much better and uses all the fun, technical, gamer terms, so basically you’ll have to buy it to get the big picture.

That said, McGonigal presents us with a bit of a utopian, unrealistic ideal of what a gameful society looks like. Yes, it would be wonderful if everyone knew how to create games and if everyone implemented them and if everyone treated work like play. The author presents us with suggestions, guidelines, and examples of how to put this into practice. However, it does seem to be a bit of a stretch, does it not? Regardless, her book gives a reader a LOT of food for thought. It has encouraged me to spend some time mulling over the ideas presented. I appreciate being given a good reason to ponder.

Reality is Broken is quite an academic book. In fact, I was surprise at how academic it read; I felt like I was reading it for an assignment. That said, when I’m not in school, this is exactly the kind of book I like to read anyways. It’s smart, makes me think, and engages me on a level that Jennifer Weiner can’t. I dig it. But I don’t think this book is a beach read, unless you’re nerdy and wear glasses, like me.

I’ve been given one copy of this book to give away to a lucky reader. To enter, please leave your contact info and your favorite videogame in the comments section! I’ll choose a random winner on Monday!!

Disclaimer: TLC Book Tours provided me a copy of Reality is Broken to review, however all opinions expressed above are solely my own.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 8:19 am

    Ohhh my Hubs would probably LOVE to read this book! His favourite game is probably Red Dead Redemption, and right now mine is Plants vs. Zombies. haha!

  2. January 27, 2011 10:57 am

    First – I saw this link yesterday and your article made me think of it:

    Second – I ❀ Lego Harry Potter. And Little Big Planet.

  3. January 27, 2011 2:50 pm

    That’s kind of a cool way to look at Chores. I love it πŸ™‚
    My favorite video game? As sad as it is, Plants vs Zombies.
    Or Just Dance for Wii, though it’s not really a video game, more of a dance game?

  4. January 27, 2011 3:33 pm

    I don’t spend much time reading book reviews (I need to fix that), but this grabbed me. It seems like such an interesting read. My fingers are crossed, but it’s already on my Amazon wishlist… just in case πŸ™‚

    Favorite video game: This is tough! I like Mario Kart for the social element. It’s competitive and fun with friends. As for a solo game, I LOVE Picross 3D for the DS. It’s a puzzle game that is way too addictive.

  5. January 27, 2011 5:19 pm

    My favorite I’m playing right now is Just Dance for Wii, but to be honest… my fav of all time is Star Tropics on original Nintendo… wow, I’m old hahaha!

  6. Jessica M. permalink
    January 27, 2011 6:32 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! My favorite video game are most definitely Rock Band and Mario Kart — I don’t tend to play many games by myself but I love the social aspects of these games and they’re great for parties or just a bunch of friends hanging out.

    jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

  7. January 27, 2011 9:46 pm

    Dude, I’m old school… Super Mario Bros 3, and the NES.

    Also a huge fan of Donkey Kong (all of them) on Super NES.

  8. January 27, 2011 10:06 pm

    this book sounds like something I’d definitely be interested in!

    Right now, my sisters are hooked on Mario & Sonic Winter Olympics, and I’ve got to say.. I am too! I also love the new Donkey Kong (and all the other versions on SNES)…

  9. January 27, 2011 10:51 pm

    AH! I just read an article about her. I study video games in my lab in grad school. I love that you posted this. Timing is awesome!

    I’m going to link this to the FB post. πŸ™‚

    My favorite games for research = WoW, Half Life2 and VBS2. For fun: Mario Kart now, but Zelda and Final Fantasy growing up.

    • January 27, 2011 10:55 pm

      hmmmm…. wait… no… I always forget about the whole semi-anon thing. Boo.

  10. January 28, 2011 4:50 pm

    Great review!! SO glad you liked it. Thank you so much for being on the tour!

  11. January 29, 2011 1:19 am

    I don’t get too much time to play videogames any more – but when I do, I love Sonic and Mario. They take me back to summer vacations without worries.


  1. Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken, on tour January/February 2011 | TLC Book Tours

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