Jane McGonigal‘s new book is “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World.”
She says that in many games the mission itself is noble: save the world. That’s what you’re doing in everything from Space Invaders to Halo. But there is also an emerging generation of games where you might actually do just that. Game designers are working on projects where players monkey around with virtual proteins, creating models for living things. Those models are then studied by scientists in order to design new medicines.
But even something like Angry Birds, which seems pretty dumb by most standards, can have benefits. McGonigal says that by taking a few minutes out of a day to engage with a challenge and work to overcome it, you can have more confidence in your real world tasks.
Also in this program, some archaeologists in western Australia are using Google Earth to spot possible sites of interest in Saudi Arabia. They say they’ve found over a thousand unexplored ancient tombs.
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