Bottom line: Jane McGonigal presents an eloquent and insightful analysis of modern gaming trends and of the psychology of gaming and gamers.
The largest and most daring assertion that the author makes is in the third part of her book, entitled "How Very Big Games Can Change the World."
The book's title refers to the broken nature of our motivational understanding of relationships, occupations, and responsibilities in general.
Daniel Pink similarly discusses this broken phenomenon in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
. In the essential psychology of human motivation, Pink notes that "it's best to try to unleash the positive side of the Sawyer Effect by attempting to turn work into play- to increase the task's variety....to make it more like a game."
The future of our families, our communities, and our world will soon be in the hands of generations that are ubiquitously gamers.
This fact has lead to two polar schools of thought on the subject:
1) That this trend will ultimately be the downfall of society. If people migrate from the real to the virtual, society will not be able to endure, and a degradation or collapse is imminent.
2) That this trend is the fervent hope of humanity. As people synthesize learning in the worlds of the real and the virtual, they will engage, coordinate, collaborate, and communicate in ways never before dreamed in the history of man.
The author provides very real, tangible, and quantifiable evidence that the second assertion is not only plausible, but that it is within our grasp today.
This is the information age, and knowledge is power.
McGonigal provides data that demonstrates how gamers are engaging, persisting, and accomplishing in ways that their non-gaming peers are not.
David Edery documents how (Changing the Game: How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business (paperback)
) corporate America is rapidly beginning to engage this untapped potential. Modern industries are now dynamically attempting to employ real-world game dynamics into their HR programs and their employees' working environments.
Kaplan's GRE 2011 (Kaplan GRE 2011 Premier with CD-ROM (Kaplan Gre Exam Premier Live)
) prep program offers their proven methodology in the guide's introductory section entitled "Play the Game."
This critically-acclaimed guide series continues by detailing that "high scorers choose to....think of the test as a game- not an instrument for punishment but an opportunity for reward. And like any game, if you play it enough times, you get really good at it."
McGonical's focus in this work is to provide a "fix" for the broken nature of reality by maximizing the benefits of the engaging aspects of games.
This method of engagement will enhance and improve individual and social lifestyles on a scope that is limited only by human ingenuity and imagination.