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Can video games save the world?

Every gamer has, at some point, held their head in their hands with despair at yet another news story or magazine article demonising our beloved hobby. Time and again the media vilifies and criticises video games for causing violent and antisocial behaviour and corrupting the young.

As baseless as these claims are, it’s something we have all become accustomed to hearing. So, it’s quite refreshing to have someone come out in defense of gaming. Not just denying the claims that video games are bad for us, but countering such claims with a cogent argument that video games are not only good for us, but they make us better people, teach us valuable life lessons and by learning and understanding video games, we can make the world around us a better place to live.

Reality Is Broken is written by “world renowned game developer” Jane McGonigal (although I don’t mind saying that I had never heard of her before picking up the book) and is a fascinating look at why games appeal to us, and the psychology at work behind games.

Over the course of the book, McGonigal details numerous ways in which reality is broken compared to video games and suggests various ways we can fix these problems, using things we have learned through gaming.

It’s an interesting concept, and whilst the book can occasionally border on the boastful (you’ll be hearing plenty about the games developed by McGonigal) the theory put forward is a genuinely intriguing one.

It might not be to everyone’s tastes, and if you’re looking for a detailed examination of specific games, you may be disappointed. If, like so many gamers however, you believe that video games are a real force for good, then you could find some real food for thought here.

Well worth a read.

Edited On 08 Mar, 2011

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