Jane McGonigal Seeks to End "Gamer Regret"

By Danl Haas

February 13, 2011

I’ve been a gamer for about two decades now, and by now, it’s become pretty clear that a certain degree self-loathing is something that simply comes with the territory. The reality is that the majority of us have been mocked or teased at some point in our lives for having the hobbies or passions that we do, to the point that I actually think it’s an important element of nerd culture.

Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken, spoke on the matter of “gamer regret” in a talk at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas on Friday. She argued that this notion, held by gamers and non-gamers alike, that playing games is somehow a waste of time, is “really one of the biggest obstacles to industry growth.”

“It’s a problem for the games industry too. We have this perception that games are escapist. That we play games to get something that we can’t easily get in real life- to get a sense of power, or confidence, or success, or make a social connection – and we have a harder time getting that in the real world. I think this is a very dangerous idea,” she offered.

The whole talk is really pretty inspiring, and McGonigal backs everything up with some real statistics about the positive ways games have influenced behavior in people, including on study that found people playing Super Mario Sunshine (one of my favorites!) were three two four times more likely to spend time helping their friends and family in the real world.

You can read more about her talk over on GI.biz, but if you’re planning on attending PAX East next month, you can look forward to McGonigal’s keynote address on Friday, March 11 at 10:30am. It’s sure to be something special.

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Danl Haas

Danl is a home-grown Minnesotan gamer, artist, and programmer. He loves rhythm games, RTS, and platformers. He loves building computers, too. His favorite games include Phoenix Wright, Dance Dance Revolution, and Katamari Damacy.

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