The World Needs More Epic Wins

by Zoe Pollock

Dave Gilson profiles gaming guru Jane McGonigal:

McGonigal's ultimate fantasy is to create a 1,000-year-long game played by every single person on the planet, "achieving a new scale of cooperation, coordination, and cocreation."

What might this "Long Game" look like, and how would it suck in several billion players? McGonigal offers no solid answers, but she's sure that one-world gamer-ment will fix everything: "When every family in the remote villages of Africa, or in what today are the slums of India, or throughout Nicaraguawhen they and everyone else in the world has access to The Long Game, that will mean greater access to education, culture, and economic opportunity as well."

If you can get past the manic wishfulness for a sec, McGonigal's basic point is worth considering: From chess to Angry Birds, good games are profoundly engagingthey dole out psychological rewards that keep us coming back for more; the result is not manipulation, but motivation.