Creating Alternate Realities: Jane McGonigal


Jane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal
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Jane McGonigal is a "happiness hacker." Or at least that's how I'd summarize what she said. She does this by designing alternate reality games. Alternate realities do away with limitation in an effort to explore possible alternatives to current situations. (Slide to be here by Friday.)

Jane gives a "forecast from the future" of things she thinks will be important for technology and tech companies. Here are the things she mentions

  • Quality of life is the primary metric for evaluating everyday technology
  • Positive psychology is a principle influence for design
  • The public expects tech companies to have a clear vision of a life worth living.
  • To succeed, a brand or product must increase real happiness, the new capital.

She recommend some books:

  • Stumbling on Happiness
  • Science of happiness
  • Authentic Happiness

She discusses realms of happiness:

  • Pleasure - satisfying experiences
  • Engagement - immersive responsive systems
  • Meaning - a power role or actor

Various traditional games (which she discusses) play in different ways in these realms. But games are a weak signal of desire. It's all accidental at present. Can a game make improved quality of life a real priority.

She describes some games she's created: reshelving 1984 from fiction to non-fiction in all fifty states, assassinating people with acts of kindness, and tombstone poker.

These games are all supergames. They are large scale in geography and number of people. They're superimposed on reality. They are superheroic--players always play themselves. They are supercomputing, engaging the collective thought of thousands of people. These are all important for putting the game in all three realms of happiness that Jane mentioned before.