“Reality Is Broken”

Billions of people play videogames, why? What makes them so engaging? What makes them worth billions of hours of our human attention per week? Maybe there is something there. Maybe videogames are satisfying some real needs that people aren’t finding in reality. Why is it that the average person is far more inclined to put in 100 hours to get the legendary greatsword for free in a videogame than put in 100 hours at their job to earn a promotion? It doesn’t make sense does it? The promotion means more money, more respect, overall higher quality of life right? Hm. Either the corporate ladder isn’t as appealing as it seems or videogames are actually better. Which is it? I’m not sure.

But, what I do know is that there is some real insight that can be found within games that we aren’t getting in real life. Maybe it’s the fact that we can plug in a talk to our friends and solve creative and complex problems together, sharing the rush of success when we achieve our goal. Maybe it’s the imaginative creative world which people lose themselves in. Maybe it’s pleasure of helping aiding your fellow adventurers through the treacherous landscape. Who knows, often times different games appeal to different people.

What if we could design our professions more like games? What if we could design our lives more like games? What if we could wake up in the morning and be thrilled at the chance to succeed in our careers just like the younger generation is thrilled to wake up on Saturday morning and turn on the Xbox? People are willing to spend days playing games, with no breaks. People are willing to put aside 40 hours a week outside of work in order to level up their characters for free, people are compelled to spend enormous amounts of cognitive energy collaborating with people to solve complex virtual problems. Isn’t this exactly what our world needs in order to survive? Isn’t this exact behaviour what we need to solve prominent environmental problems? Societal problems? Political problems? Obviously people are capable of incredible feats of cognitive accomplishment with no monetary incentive. Maybe they just aren’t willing to do it because reality doesn’t seem worth it?

So the question becomes how can we create a reality as compelling and worthwhile as the games which so many people play? That is definitely a question worth answering.

P.S. A great book on this topic is “Reality is Broken” by Jane Mcgonigal

Hustle it up!

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