tl;dr Embrace high stakes work and instead of telling yourself this isn’t a game, say this could be a game.
McGonigal makes the point that gamers want to play games (and not “game” them) and uses the 4 traits of a game to establish some ground rules for the rest of her book.
Gaming is part of our lexicon. “Gaming the system” or “You’d better start playing the game” are part of everyday speech.
This statement leads McGonigal into a discussion of what a game is…a game has:
- a goal players will work to achieve
- rules providing limitations
- a feedback system giving player progress
- voluntary participation
“This definition may surprise you for what it lacks: interactivity, graphics, narrative, rewards, competition, virtual environments, or the idea of “winning” — all traits we often think of when it comes to games today. True, these are common features of many games, but they are not defining features.”