In response to Jane McGonigal’s presentation, my first reaction is yes, it is crazy. But then I changed my mind after listening for a few minutes. I see where she’s going and I like it. We’ve discussed what it is gamers are actually learning in class and in the readings (especially Koster), and I think she makes good points about weaving social networks and working towards a common goal and all that. Her message is that we need to apply the same attitude to real world problems that we do to these not-so-real-world game problems. And I agree completely.
That being said, I still see a problem. This doesn’t apply to ARG type things though, I think those have a lot of potential. No, for computer-based games, as long as they rely on some sort of static visual medium, I’m left wondering who’s going to put all these grandiose changes in the collective human conscience into action? The people playing the games? Um… no, they’re still at home playing the games. So it’s left to the real farmers and real mechanics and real doctors to physically do things.
So, to wrap up, I’m just saying that I don’t think we can take this at face value. We shouldn’t just “play more games”, or even “play different games”, because that’ll just leave more people at home clicking mice. Like she says, if we could just learn to go for those epic wins and be urgently hopeful in real life, maybe games could find a new and effective way to actually make real world changes. Because, let’s be honest, I don’t think Ayiti is going to spur anyone not already spurred.