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Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the Worldby Jane Mcgonigal
Synopses & Reviews
An acclaimed journalist examines how games can help us learn, create, and innovate in any kind of business.
If youve ever found yourself engrossed in Angry Birds, Call of Duty, or a plain old crossword puzzle when you should have been doing something more productive, you know how easily games hold our attention. Hardcore gamers have spent the equivalent of 5.93 million years playing World of Warcraft while the world collectively devotes about 5 million hours per day to Angry Birds. A colossal waste of time? Perhaps. But what if we could tap into all the energy, engagement, and brainpower that people are already expending and use it for more creative and valuable pursuits?
Harnessing the power of games sounds like a New-Age fantasy, or at least a fad thats only for hip start-ups run by millennials in Silicon Valley. But according to Adam L. Penenberg, the use of smart game design in the workplace and beyond is taking hold in every sector of the economy, and the companies that apply it are witnessing unprecedented results. Gamification” isnt just for consumers chasing reward points anymore. Its transforming, well, just about everything.
Penenberg explores how, by understanding the way successful games are designed, we can apply them to become more efficient, come up with new ideas, and achieve even the most daunting goals. He shows how game mechanics are being applied to make employees happier and more motivated, improve worker safety, create better products, and improve customer service.
For example, Microsoft has transformed an essential but mind-numbing task—debugging software—into a game by having employees compete and collaborate to find more glitches in less time. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an independent automaker based in Arizona, crowdsources designs from car enthusiasts all over the world by having them compete for money and recognition within the community. As a result, the company was able to bring a cutting-edge vehicle to market in less time and at far less cost than the Big Three automakers.
These are just two examples of companies that have tapped the characteristics that make games so addictive and satisfying. Penenberg also takes us inside organizations that have introduced play at work to train surgeons, aid in physical therapy, translate the Internet, solve vexing scientific riddles, and digitize books from the nineteenth century. Drawing on the latest brain science as well as his firsthand reporting from these cutting-edge companies, Penenberg offers a powerful solution for businesses and organizations of all stripes and sizes.
An expert on military innovation reveals how video games are revolutionizing warfare from the battlefield to the highest echelons of the Pentagon.
A behind-the-scenes look at how the military uses video game technology to train soldiers, treat veterans, and entice new recruits
How does the U.S. military train its soldiers for new forms of armed conflict, all within the constraints of diminished defense budgets? Increasingly, the answer is cutting-edge video game technology. Corey Mead shows us training sessions where soldiers undertake multiplayer andldquo;missionsandrdquo; that test combat skills, develop unit cohesion, and teach cultural awareness. He immerses himself in 3-D battle simulations so convincing that they leave his heart racing. And he shows how the military, which has shaped American education more than any other force over the last century, fuels the adoption of games as learning toolsandmdash;and recruitment come-ons. Mead also details how the military uses games to prepare soldiers for their return to the home front and to treat PTSD.
Military-funded researchers were closely involved with the computing advances that led to the invention of the Internet. Now, as Mead proves, we are poised at the brink of a similar explosion in game technology. War Play reveals that many of tomorrowandrsquo;s teaching tools, therapies, and entertainments can be found in todayandrsquo;s military.
A fascinating look at how games can help us learn, create, and innovate
Once thought to be nothing more than diversions for children and nerds, games have become an integral part of everyday life. Educators are trying to make learning more fun by introducing games into the classroom while cutting-edge managers are doing the same in the workplace. Doctors, scientists, and entrepreneurs are deploying games to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.
But according to Adam Penenberg, it’s not the games themselves that improve our lives, but rather smart game design and its impact on the brain that can lead us to become immersed in a task we find enjoyable. The individuals and institutions that have used games to achieve this effect are often rewarded with astounding results.
Drawing on the latest brain science on attention and engagement plus his own firsthand reporting, Penenberg shows how organizations like Google, Microsoft, hospitals, and the military have used game design in bold new ways.
About the Author
Jane McGonigal is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future. Her work has been featured in The Economist, Wired, and The New York Times. She lives in San Francisco, California.
Table of Contents
1.and#160;The Rise of the Military-Entertainment Complexand#8195;and#8195;11
2.and#160;Building the Classroom Arsenal: The Militaryand#8217;s Influence on American Educationand#8195;and#8195;34
3.and#160;and#8220;Everybody Must Thinkand#8221;: The Militaryand#8217;sand#160;Post-9/11 Turn to Video Gamesand#8195;and#8195;50
4.and#160;Americaand#8217;s Army: The Gameand#8195;and#8195;72
5.and#160;All but War Is Simulationand#8195;and#8195;103
6.and#160;WILL Interactive and the Militaryand#8217;s Serious Gamesand#8195;and#8195;115
7.and#160;The Aftermath: Medical Virtual Reality and the Treatment of Traumaand#8195;and#8195;129
8.and#160;Conclusion: Americaand#8217;s Army Invades Our Classroomsand#8195;and#8195;154
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