Reality is Broken: Questions

Discussion questions based on pages 1 – 76 of Jane McGonigal’s book Reality is Broken.

On page 4, McGonigal writes, “Games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is unable to satisfy.” She goes on to explain gaming provides rewards and brings us together while teaching, inspiring, and engaging. How can a virtual world satisfy human needs? If the gamer feels fulfilled while playing a game, what happens when the game is off? Aren’t tangible rewards more satisfying than virtual rewards?

On page 12, McGonigal states that games teach you about your true self, including your strengths, motivations, and when you are happiest. Can a gamer really compare the happiness of playing a game to the real world? Can the happiness of beating a level really be compared to being around family and friends who make you laugh?

Gamer regret, which gamers typically feel after 20 + hours, is a sense of emptiness when gamers muse on all the other things they could have done with their time. Therefore, if gamers often feel this emptiness, how can gameplay be a direct emotional opposite of depression? Isn’t a symptom of depression feeling empty? Aren’t guilt and regret two very demoralizing emotions?

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