Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jane McGonigal rules

You heard it here first. Videos to come of her general awesomeness and also, a chat transcript between the infamous Jon Zmikly and I as we watched Jane's keynote. Stay tuned!!
Edit: Thoughts after her Keynote

I still maintain that Jane is awesome and her keynote was great but there are a couple of points I didn't really subscribe to.

First of all, I am into what Jane considers "escapist" gaming and I think her talk about being in the happiness business was much more closely related to this type of gaming than the type Jane works on. I'm not saying reality based games don't fall into her definition of happiness, but she discussed scientific research and the results of this research pointed towards gaming as it is usually defined. I also didn't like when she discussed women in gaming and talked about how designers should design specifically for women (this is a recurring theme at the conference) because I think that is alienating a huge set of women who DO play these games and who DO excel at them. I think she failed to express the real problem and that is that there are not a lot of women developers in the industry today, and those that are, don't seem to realize that women like a lot of the same types of games that men do but because a lot of these games created gender biases around their players from the start, they are considered primarily male territory and women wanting to enter see lots of obstacles they are unsure how to overcome. I'm thinking of the LAN parties I've been to and the backlash I've gotten from attending and attempting to play certain types of games. It is important for women in the business to stop subscribing to and selling the research that finds that women cannot play certain types of games because it is a gross generalization. That really upset me and I expected better from her, to be honest.

I loved when she talked about how happiness is the new capital and that gaming is the ultimate happiness engine. Her enthusiasm and passion are infectious and she is definitely a rarity in the industry.

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