Jane McGonigal has to be one of the most awesome gaming advocates in the world.
I’ve been following her writing for a while, and I love the vision that she has for the gaming industry. Here’s the basic summary of her background (it’s from Wikipedia, so you know it must be true):
Jane McGonigal, Ph.D. (born 1977) is a game designer, games researcher, and author, specializing in pervasive gaming and alternate reality games (ARGs). She initially rose to prominence due to her work with design company 42 Entertainment from 2004 to 2006, on projects including the seminal alternate reality game I Love Bees (2004).
Recently, McGonigal has grown especially interested in the way that alternate reality games and massively multiplayer online gaming generate collective intelligence, and interested in the way that the collective intelligences generated can be utilized as a means of improving the world, either by improving the quality of human life or by working towards the solution of social ills. She has expressed a desire that gaming should be moving “towards Nobel Prizes.”
She has taught game design and game theory at the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California, Berkeley and she currently serves as the Director of Game Research & Development at Institute for the Future.
She gave an interesting talk at TED a while ago. You can watch it here:
When I first heard it, I don’t know that I understood what she was getting at. I think that might be a limitation on my part, though; not hers. As I learn more about the use of technology and virtual worlds in education, I think I am starting to get on board.