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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Developer Jane McGonigal Says Video Games Can Change the World -- for the Better

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Jane McGonigal
  • Jane McGonigal

In her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How they Can Change the World, game designer and researcher Jane McGonigal makes the case that video games reduce unhappiness in players, hone their critical thinking skills, and can even be harnessed to help solve global problems such as the energy crisis and the exploitation of Third World labor. She appears tonight at Herbst Theatre along with Ryan Wyatt.

McGonigal's thesis might seem heretical at first, but she makes her argument using sociological research, cognitive science, and her own experience as the developer of games like the alternative-reality peak oil simulation World Without Oil. Whether gamers will embrace these so-called "games for good" with the same intensity they've applied to killing space Nazis remains an open question, but McGonigal is a perceptive and pioneering thinker, as well as an effective and convincing speaker.

The Power of Gaming with Dr. Jane McGonigal, part of City Arts and Lectures, starts at 8 p.m. tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 31) at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $22-$26.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Paul M. Davis

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