Can Video Games Solve Real Issues?

May 25, 2012
Originally published on May 25, 2012 8:31 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Fixing Our Broken Systems. Watch Jane McGonigal's full Talk — Gaming Can Make A Better World -- on

About Jane McGonigal's TEDTalk

Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Game designer Jane McGonigal thinks we can.

McGonigal says reality is broken, and explains that we need to make it work more like a game. In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment. Her game-world insights can explain — and improve — the way we learn, work, solve problems and lead our real lives.

About Jane McGonigal

In her work as a game designer and director of game R&D at the Institute for the Future, McGonigal creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. After suffering a serious concussion several years ago, she created a multiplayer game to get through it, opening it up to anyone to play. In Superbetter, players set a goal (health or wellness) and invite others to play with them. The overarching goal was to keep them on track.

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