by Patrick O’Shaughnessy
Jane McGonigal, PhD is a world-renowned designer of
alternate reality games — or, games that are designed to improve real lives and
solve real problems.
She is the Author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us
Better and How They Can Change the World and is the inventor and
co-founder of SuperBetter, a game that has helped nearly a million
players tackle real-life health challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic
pain, and traumatic brain injury.
Our conversation is about how to design useful games, how
games effect us and our kids, and what the future might hold. Please enjoy.
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1:22 – (First Question) – Her take on the history of gaming
and studying the players themselves
3:44 – Where her passion for gaming really started
4:55 – Her take on flow states
7:47 – Kids and gaming
10:32 – Advice for parents when it comes to the role of
13:53 – Types of games that develop the right skills for
16:20 – Four things all games share in common
20:50 – Her take on Carse’s theory about infinite gaming
21:04 – Finite
and Infinite Games
26:28 – How to understand gaming culture if you’ve never
played a game before
28:28 – Amazon and gaming
31:18 – How fun makes anything more enjoyable
34:55 – How game designers calibrate feedback loops
39:14 – The good and bad of gamifying life
45:01 – What is the superbetter
52:43 – Why powerups and bad guys are so important in games
57:03 – Secret identity
59:04 – Playing with boundaries
1:00:36 – Most worried about in the gaming world, and most
1:07:32 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Jane