Free «Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World» Essay

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

Jane McGonigal is a popular game developer, consultant and speaker famous for her belief that video games are useful and can be designed in order to solve some urgent problems. Together with real-world organizations, she works on creating games that tackle the issues of climate change, poverty, and depletion of resources. In 2011, McGonigal published the book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Her article “Be a Gamer, Save the World” is based on this book and was originally published in Wall Street Journal on January 22, 2011.

In “Be a Gamer, Save the World,” Jane McGonigal addresses virtually every gamer, as well as every opponent of computer and video games, who claims that the latter are nothing but a waste of time in the form of passive escape from reality. Therefore, the writer’s purpose is to encourage gamers to play any games they want and prove to the haters of gamers that games are not only useful since they completely satisfy basic human needs, which reality cannot fulfill, but may also help solve some of today’s real urgent problems. In the historical context, McGonigal’s ideas and findings are of immense significance since she talks about real dangers looming on the horizon, which can wipe the human race off the face of the earth in the next century.

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The logos of the article is very strong. McGonigal reasonably refutes the common myth that games are harmful and have no positive effect in dimensions of real life. Using supportive reasons, she manages to prove that games can serve a higher purpose and help save the universe in the nearest future. Firstly, the article is imbued with real figures and data, which demonstrate that great numbers of gamers all over the world spend more and more time playing. It happens so because as McGonigal’s research at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Institute for the Future has shown, games provide gamers with four elements of meaningful and happy life: “satisfying work, real hope for success, strong social connections and the chance to become a part of something bigger than ourselves” (McGonigal, 2011).

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For this reason, the author suggests “to use gamers’ virtual-world strengths to accomplish real feats.” Further, McGonigal points out that it is really possible: in 2010, over 57,000 typical gamers played “Fordit,” a game where they had to combine virtual proteins in new ways in order to prevent Alzheimer’s or cure cancer. Further, more than 19,000 players of EVOKE, an online game designed by McGonigal, managed to found over fifty new companies working from South Africa and India to Buffalo, N. Y. These examples demonstrate the truth behind the author’s claim that a game is a powerful means of creating the better real world (McGonigal, 2011).

Readers can feel the ethos of the argument right from the preface, which presents McGonigal as a knowledgeable and experienced researcher in the field of computer and video games. Strong pathos is present throughout the article in the excerpts, where the author describes the effect of games on players. For instance: “The real world just does not offer up the same sort of carefully designed pleasures, thrilling challenges and powerful social bonding that the gamer finds in virtual environments. Reality is not engineered to maximize our potential or to make us happy.” What makes games so appealing is that they “produce feelings of awe and wonder,” imbue gamers with “a sense of urgent optimism” and make them feel “blissfully productive,” which lets them “set ambitious real-life goals” (McGonigal, 2011).

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The writer’s style is very effective for several reasons. Firstly, the language is simple and understandable for every reader with no special background. Secondly, the author provides real examples proving that games can really be used for solving grave problems of humanity. Last but not least, McGonigal’s use of pathos makes her writing style emotionally colorful and, therefore, highly appealing. All things considered, the argument is highly convincing since the author underpins her claim by her own and other researchers’ findings and obvious proofs that games can successfully tackle many pressing issues.

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