Game-Player Interactions: Dualism of Motives and SIPI

       In her book Super Better, Jane McGonigal looks at the ways in which a game player can improve his or her own quality of life with a profound but simple change in perspective. McGonigal presents preconceived understandings about life and happiness, but in a new environment and with different tools. She looks at the effects of video game playing on the human condition, and how these effects diverge between two majors groups of people: those who want to play and those who need to play. Specifically, in chapter four, “You Can Make the Leap from Games to Gameful,” McGonigal describes how ones moves … Continue reading Game-Player Interactions: Dualism of Motives and SIPI

You Can Make the Leap from Games to Gameful, in Super Better


McGonigal, Jane. “You Can Make the Leap from Games to Gameful.” Super Better: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient⎯Powered by the Science of Games. Toronto: Penguin, 2015. 104-29. Print.

The transition from just playing games to playing games mindfully is an essential aspect of accessing the benefits of gamefulness. McGonigal argues that a gamer should play with purpose, rather than with the escapist attitude that is most often adopted by gamers. Escapism encourages players to escape their daily life and its problems, thus convincing them to believe that their problem solving skills are insufficient for dealing with life’s difficulties. To play with purpose, instead, is to identify a game’s benefits (i.e. team building) and find this benefit’s purpose in a real-life situation (i.e. working collaboratively on a shared project at work). The method to accessing the benefits of game playing, or being gameful, is the application of these virtually accessed skills in a real-life setting. McGonigal discusses the health paradox for gamers: self-suppressive gamers, those who avoid their issues by gaming, are often physically and mentally unwell, suffering from depression, social isolation, anxiety, and a host of other issues; self-expansive gamers, those who apply virtually learned skills in real life settings, excel in terms of their happiness, health, and test scores. Studies show that both are possible consequences of game playing, and both are valid. The difference is purpose in playing, or the why. To rely on games to distract from problems, rather than to inform a problem and present a solution, is defeatist. A “purposeful play,” instead, works against this instinct to distract. Gamers seek out benefits, such as education, exploration, creativity, relaxation, and can consequently “activate [their] gameful skills in real-world contexts” (106). Continue reading “You Can Make the Leap from Games to Gameful, in Super Better”