Reality is Broken is a book by Jane McGonigal that explores how the world we live in could be drastically improved by accepting video games and incorporating gaming practices into everyday life, a process she refers to as gamification. The book is entertaining, engaging and not overly technical so you don’t have to be a round-the-clock gamer to understand the subjects she is discussing.
The general premise of the book is that life in reality is lacking a crucial ingredient; some spark that would make going about our lives more fun and engaging instead of (as so many people seem to feel) edging surely and steadily towards lethargy and boredom. McGonigal’s way out of this system of ennui is to bring gaming to many cornerstones of life, from how we educate our children, to systems of incentive in the work place and tasks involving mass cooperation.
While I would say the book is rather one-sided, only displaying with great excitement the good points about gaming culture while carefully avoiding any valid criticisms, I personally found this book a thoroughly interesting read. It came as a breath of fresh air given the large amount of negativity usually expressed towards gaming in the wider media. If nothing else McGonigal’s book provides food for thought and a large source of inspiration for how the benefits of gaming might be used in a much wider context to help improve our quality of life. I mean wouldn’t you prefer that tasks such as going to work and keeping house became more like challenges to be overcome with tantalizing rewards instead of ordeals to be performed as quickly as humanly possible? I certainly would and if even some of the ideas in this book could be realized I think the world could become a much more lively place!
Overall: I would give this book a 4.5 / 5 and highly recommend it for anyone wanting to expand their horizons in ways video games can be used to improve lives outside of actually sitting and playing them 😀