In celebration of the New York Public Library’s centennial festival weekend, game designer Jane McGonigal has crafted the “Find the Future” scavenger hunt.
500 players will join the “Write All Night” event on May 20th. Inside the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, they will use laptops and smartphones to find 100 objects from the library’s collection of treasures and perform a related-writing challenge.
The video embedded above features a promo clip for the event; it seems to mimic The Da Vinci Code‘s film trailer. If you want to participate, just answer this question: “In the year 2021, I will become the first person to __________.” Submit your answer before 11:59 PM Pacific Time on April 21st.
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Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal
Review by: Chalkboard Dad
About the author:
World-renowned game designer and futurist Jane McGonigal, PhD. takes play seriously. McGonigal is the Director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, where she earned Harvard Business Review honors for “Top 20 Breakthrough Ideas of 2008? for her work on the future of games. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times; and on MTV, CNN, BBC, and NPR. In 2009, BusinessWeek called her one of the 10 most important innovators to watch, and Fast Company hailed her as one of the 100 most creative people in business. She has given keynote addresses at TED, South by Southwest Interactive, the Game Developers Conference, ETech, and the Web 2.0 Summit, and has been a featured speaker at The New Yorker Conference. Born in Philadelphia in 1977 and raised in New York, Jane now lives in San Francisco with her husband.
About the book:
More than 174 million Americans are gamers, and the average young person in the United States will spend ten thousand hours gaming by the age of twenty-one. According to world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal, the reason for this mass exodus to virtual worlds is that videogames are increasingly fulfilling genuine human needs. In this groundbreaking exploration of the power and future of gaming, McGonigal reveals how we can use the lessons of game design to fix what is wrong with the real world.
Drawing on positive psychology, cognitive science, and sociology, Reality Is Broken uncovers how game designers have hit on core truths about what makes us happy and utilized these discoveriesto astonishing effect in virtual environments. Videogames consistently provide the exhilarating rewards, stimulating challenges, and epic victories that are so often lacking in the real world. But why, McGonigal asks, should we use the power of games for escapist entertainment alone? Her research suggests that gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators because they regularly cooperate with other players to overcome daunting virtual challenges, and she helped pioneer a fast-growing genre of games that aims to turn gameplay to socially positive ends.
In Reality Is Broken, she reveals how these new alternate reality games are already improving the quality of our daily lives, fighting social problems such as depression and obesity, and addressing vital twenty-first-century challenges-and she forecasts the thrilling possibilities that lie ahead. She introduces us to games like World Without Oil, a simulation designed to brainstorm-and therefore avert- the challenges of a worldwide oil shortage, and Evoke, a game commissioned by the World Bank Institute that sends players on missions to address issues from poverty to climate change.
McGonigal persuasively argues that those who continue to dismiss games will be at a major disadvantage in the coming years. Gamers, on the other han
8 x 8 inches
This is what I'm working on right now. I thought it might be fun to post a work in progress, so you can see how these things develop.
I know its light and a little difficult to see, I apologize. But this is exactly how it looks on my board (well, except for the bad scan splice down the middle).
This is going to be a red and white Scandinavian snowflake design (yes, I'm thinking Christmas already). I essentially knit the design with my pencil, drawing it out, stitch by stitch.
Then I used a colored pencil (in this case a Polychromo red) to lightly indicate the red pattern stitches. I came back in with a light grey to go over the rest of the stitches (which will be off-white).
I then lightly erase the graphite pencil lines underneath. The colored pencil holds up better to erasing, and holds the pattern just enough, while the graphite goes away.
Notice I keep saying "lightly". That's the key. Too much color too early will ruin it, and too heavy erasing will take it all off. I need to be able to see the pattern, but not have it be outlined like a coloring book.
Here's a detail. This is about the size the stitches are in real life.
So now I get to start painting! I decided to do this in watercolor. I'll probably do some colored pencil on it as well, but I will at least establish the color pattern and maybe shadows with paint first. Stay tuned.
I guess I need to find some Christmas music to listen to. The other night I watched "The Wall" (Pink Floyd) which I hadn't seen since it first came out (although I've listened to the album many many times). Its still stuck in my head, and doesn't really go with happy Christmas knitting designs.
I'm sitting in Austin Airport trying to digest what has been a really interesting SXSW Interactive festival. Last year the big buzzy items were twitter and Second Life, but this year, while every single attendee seemed to be twittering furiously, I heard nary a mention of Second Life. How fickle the tech world is! There seemed to be a few more publishing types in attendance this year, but still a very tiny number relative to the amount of chatter in the book world on the impact that technology is starting to have on our business. The big talking point in Austin this year wasn't actually a technology announcement, but the controversial interview of Facebook CEO (and the world's youngest billionaire) Mark Zuckerberg.
By far the most thought provoking session I attended was Jane McGonigal's session on Reality, Games and Happiness; 'Reality is broken. Why aren't game designers trying to fix it?' is her basic question. She began by talking about research into 'happiness' which showed that there are four basic needs that promote a happy life; fulfilling work, the experience of being good at something, time spent with people we like and the chance to be part of something bigger. Multiplayer games, she proposed, deliver all these things whereas, unfortunately, real life often cannot. Game designers, she argued, were in a good position to deliver increased happiness in real life, because they already have the experience of creating 'happiness engines' in the games they develop. (There was lots more meaty stuff in this talk - check here for a full transcript).
This chimed with the session of Henry Jenkins, who when asked about the growing issue of internet addiction, argued that a) addiction was not a helpful word to use and b) that people spend so much time online and in alternate realities because they don't have sufficient opportunity to express themselves creatively in their day to day lives and work. An increased amount of attention is being given to the roles of games and play in encouraging creativity and developing skills and as our tools for online exploration and collaboration continue to develop, it is certain that we will see some exciting, challenging and, well, game-changing blendings of the real world and alternate realities in the months and years to come.
Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher
PS Penguin's own foray into games that are stories and stories that are games (produced with game designers extraordinaire Six to Start) starts next week. Sign up here to be alerted when the game begins...
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Here’s your next lecture from the fabulous TED series. You’ve gotta love Jane McGonigal’s energy and her very creative message. Really think about this one! I know I am.
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