Serious Play - Examining the Real World Benefits of Video Games

Jane McGonigal is speaking in the same space that the Louisville Competitive Game Conference was held just one week ago.  She is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future.

Games use a tremendous amount of intellectual energy by the people playing them. World of Warcraft has more articles written about it than any other subject or area, including Wikipedia.

Economist Edward Castranova says we are witnessing a global mass exodus to an online environment.  This is rational, according to Jane. Games are making us happier than real life. Games work better than reality for four reasons:  better instructions, feedback, community, and emotions.

Gamers feel strong emotions while playing, staying on the threshold of a breakthrough all the time, and studies show a strong connection there.  And they feel extreme elation when they have a breakthrough or win an objective. Since there is no word for this feeling in English, Jane likes to use the Italian word Fiero. Fiero is the thrill of succeeding when something is really hard.  She imitates the Fiero face, mouth open, arms in the air, eyes wide open, and gives out a little yell.  Imagine a soccer player scoring a goal.