Responses to my questions: week 2

1. Do people really like taking videogame breaks at work because it makes them feel more productive?  Or is it because they allow for escape from the boring work world?

As I read more in the book, McGonnigal does talk about escapism more.  But I also saw a video that Karen linked to on Youtube of McGonnigal getting interviewed on “The Colbert Report.”  On that show, she said that playing video games is the most productive thing you can do.  I understand her motivation in saying this.  But I think what she might mean is that living by the principles that games present to us is the most productive thing you can do.  For example, later in the reading she talks about different ways games can affect our real lives, such as in ARGs like SuperBetter.  This games helped her get better from her concussion by applying gaming priciples to the process.  So the act of playing videogames did not make her better.  It was that they showed her a way to make a difficult task easier.

2. On pg. 51, it says that “we crave the experience, or at least the hope, of being successful.”  Do all people really crave that?

The reason I ask this question, which hasn’t really been answered yet in the book, is because I see a lot of adults who work at minimum-wage jobs and have been for years.  Maybe this is just the idealist in me; but I can’t see how one could possibly have the “craving” McGonnigal is talking about and not do something about it besides getting our needs fulfilled from a game.  The problem is that once the game is over, you go back to your “normal” life.  So you will never be fulfilled by just games.  That being said, there must be some people who for some reason just don’t crave something more out of life.

3. Pg. 44 describes a man addicted to Breakout for 3 months.  This was back in the day when games were made harder because they were mostly in arcades that were designed to take your money.  A lot of today’s games are easier.  Is that taking away from the so-called “fiero?”

The answer to this is yes and no.  People have figured out ways to make games harder for themselves than programmers intended by trying to find programmer errors to “break” them.  Then they can do things like speed runs or simply have fun with the glitches they find.  At the same time, a lot of people with less dedication (like me) are frustrated if a game is too easy because a game with a challenge makes you feel triumphant when you beat it.

4. The author contends throughout that games fulfill a certain flow we need in our lives.  Surely there are ways to fulfill this in real life, too?

She definitely talks about this in part two.  I’m glad the book has gone in this direction, as it is decidedly more interesting and actually gave me an idea for my term paper and something I can do with that in my capstone.  That will revealed later.

5. The author describes games as work.  But work usually has a negative connotation.  Isn’t there a better term to describe “fun work?”

This hasn’t been answered as of where I am in the book; but I think there definitely should be a different term.  Maybe “fun work” is it.  Or “positive work.”  Although some games feel like work to me, like turn-based RPGs, which is why I don’t play them.


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