Readalong: Reality is Broken, Ch 14 – Saving the Real World Together

This continues the Readalong by Erik van Mechelen of Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality is Broken’ with insights from Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis framework. For in-depth discussions of this book and others, join Octalysis Prime.

tl;dr By taking a long view and using game design now, we can save the real world together.

Summary

Will Wright shared that he believes one of the largest skills to be gained from playing games is a better imagination. Why? For the survival of humanity.

Survival is present in many games from the Sims to Black and White to Civilization.

World without Oil was a collaborative forecasting and problem-solving game which helped people expand their imaginations through fictional obstacles.

Superstruct Ten Year Forecast was yet another collaborative game created and run by McGonigal’s Institute for the Future, which developed 550 superstructs, or combinations of structural solutions to problems.

Analysis

This final chapter is largely example driven and uncontroversial. Essentially, it is a rallying call for Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling.

Together, we can tackle what may be the most worthwhile, most epic obstacle of all: a whole-planetary mission, to use games to raise global quality of life, to prepare ourselves for the future, and to sustain our earth for the next millennium and beyond.

What’s next?

Congratulations! You completed the Reality is Broken readalong!

Which book should we read together next?

Let me know in the comments or on Octalysis Prime‘s community (paywall).

The Great Delhi Run–How FITology used an Alternate Reality Game to Break the Ice

Adventures @ FITology | #1 – The Great Delhi Run | Alternate Reality Game

This article was written by Saamir Gupta, Founder of FITology. (See bottom of article for full bio.)

Day 1: 7:00 pm, Hotel ITC, Delhi

Imagine, you have taken a long flight to India. This is your first evening in Delhi and you are having dinner with your colleagues from all round the world. You are part of this pool of 20 senior management handpicked to start a new business model for your company. And your discussions with them, as a team start tomorrow. But instead of the work agenda for the next day, at the dinner table, you are handed this brief –

Continue reading The Great Delhi Run–How FITology used an Alternate Reality Game to Break the Ice

Readalong: Reality is Broken, Ch 13 – Collaboration Superpowers

This continues the Readalong by Erik van Mechelen of Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality is Broken’ with insights from Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis framework. For in-depth discussions of this book and others, join Octalysis Prime.

tl;dr When we work together, we win.

Summary

McGonigal describes three aspects of concerted effort:

  • cooperating – acting purposefully toward a common goal
  • coordinating – synchronizing efforts and sharing resources
  • cocreating – producing a novel outcome together

These elements help lead to shared concentration, synchronized engagement, mutual regard, collective commitment, and reciprocal rewards.

Analysis

McGonigal opens the chapter with statistics about how much kids game vs how much they read, and develops this argument to encourage us as a society to use our collective ability to play games well for good.

(Off topic: I think we’d do well also to increase literacy and reading, since reading often leads to better critical thinking and the ability to reason and create arguments, a valuable tool in conflict resolution and problem solving…maybe games can teach us how to read and debate!)

Game designers and developers today are working within contexts where massive real-time coordination tools, collaborative creation systems, and lightweight, asynchronous collaboration are possible.

I like McGonigal’s collaboration superpowers:

  • high ping quotient: extraordinary collaborators have no qualms about pinging or reaching out via electronic means to others for participation
  • collaboration radar: extraordinary collaborators develop a kind of sixth sense about who would make the best collaborators on a particular task or mission
  • emergensight: the ability to thrive in a chaotic collaborative environment

What do you think?

What collaboratories are you a part of? (Besides Octalysis Prime of course!)

Let me know in the comments or on Octalysis Prime‘s community (paywall).

Readalong: Reality is Broken, Ch 12 – Missions Impossible

This continues the Readalong by Erik van Mechelen of Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality is Broken’ with insights from Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis framework. For in-depth discussions of this book and others, join Octalysis Prime.

tl;dr We need to create more moments and chances for epic wins.

Summary

Experimental games like The Extraordinaries, Groundcrew, and Lost Joules give players the chance to experience epic wins in their daily lives. Compared with games, reality is unambitious. Games help us define awe-inspiring goals and tackle seemingly impossible social missions together.

Analysis

The Extraordinaries was a great example of a micro-task on-demand app for non-profits. It hasn’t taken off since its launch in 2009, though the company did raise a seed round of funding in 2011. My guess is that Kickstarter and Patreon are filling this void.

Groundcrew was an early version of Fiver or TaskRabbit for the real world. Players can ask for help in the real world, even for something as basic as a latté, and another player can bring it to her.

I agree with McGonigal’s focus on designing social participation tasks as well as human intelligence tasks.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk seems to have grown into the lasting and scalable version for human intelligence tasks.

Lost Joules doesn’t seem to have a successor, except that many smart environmental devices come equipped with their own usage data interfaces (think Nest).

Overall, McGonigal was right about the scalability of seemingly impossible missions, but some areas, like climate change, global economic crises, food insecurity, geopolitical instability, and rising rates of depression are still open to gameful design at a large scale social level.

One quip I have with this chapter is its focus on the large scale. I doubt McGonigal intends to suggest that small wins in our daily social lives don’t matter, but by focusing only on the large scale she does suggest that many things need to be bigger and better to draw our motivational attention. In my personal life, there are many small things I do to contribute to progress on a social level in my community (like small talk, volunteerism).

What do you think?

What social movements could benefit from a more focused behavioral design?

Let me know in the comments or on Octalysis Prime‘s community (paywall).

Time Well Spent, Classcraft, and Blizzard: Gamification Examples

Based on the framework by Yu-kai Chou. Written by Erik van Mechelen. Feedback from Octalysis Prime community members. 

Every day in Octalysis Prime, I share a game or gamification example that has captured my attention or persuaded me to do something, whether to simply spend a few seconds longer of attention or to click something or to later mention what I saw or experienced to a friend.

This list is the just a few from last week, with a touch more in detail explanations from the Octalysis design perspective.

Continue reading Time Well Spent, Classcraft, and Blizzard: Gamification Examples