Reality is Broken: A Late Blog Post

Reality is broken to gamers, because games are created to entertain and motivate, and reality was not. McGonigal says reality is too easy, too predictable and bland, but games create excitement, adventure, anticipation. (22) Gamers know that in a game they are likely to succeed, even if it seems an impossible task at the time, whereas there isn’t the same likelihood of success and gratification in real life.

According to McGonigal, there are four elements of a game: goals, rules, feedback, and voluntary participation. (21) These four elements are essential to the success of games, as games without rules and goals may seem too confusing or pointless, and games without good feedback systems may become frustrating to the gamer. A game is not really a game without voluntary participation. You have to be willing to overcome the obstacles the game would give you in order to play and enjoy yourself. Suits’ quotation sums up this necessity, stating that gaming is “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.” (McGonigal 22)

Flow, as defined by McGonigal, is the feeling of overwhelming joy from creativity and accomplishment. (35) While it isn’t a regular occurrence in the real world, flow is expected in games, providing more motivation to play and beat them. Fiero is the Italian word for pride, but as a gaming term it indicates the intense feeling of victory one achieves when triumphing over adversity. (McGonigal 33) McGonigal refers to fiero as a primal feeling, and it is very rare to find outside of the gaming world. One example that comes to mind is the feeling sports fans get when the team they’re cheering for wins a game and/or scores a point. These two concepts are essential to games, and they encourage the patience and focus it takes to strive toward the end goal.


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