Christopher Floyd (drdeleto) wrote,
Christopher Floyd

Jane McGonigal and the Deathbeds of the Gaming Generation

The more I see of her, the more I think we all need to see less of Jane McGonigal. If you don't know her, she's a smart, well-meaning, idealistic woman who wants to show how much good games can do. They're going to "save the world," if I remember her words correctly.

In this latest video, she addresses a concern first expressed (in a certain form) in the 80s by the late Dani Bunten, an early pioneer of multiplayer gaming: "No one ever said on their deathbed, 'Gee, I wish I'd spent more time alone with my computer.'"

McGonigal has the benefit of addressing this question in an age of more connected gaming, and it admittedly does change the equation a bit.

But there's one glaring flaw in her analysis in this video: What are the chances that the people in the hospice care survey grew up playing video games? In fact, don't the concerns expressed--I shouldn't have worked so much; I should have followed my bliss; I should have been the real me--don't these sound like archetypal Baby Boomer concerns?

I don't think the book is written (or the study done) on this question yet. And I think there's a very real chance that members of my generation will in fact ask themselves at the end of their lives if all that time playing Ultima, Battlefield, Warcraft, or Bejewelled was worth it. Even in the age of "Games With Friends," Dani Bunten's question still haunts us, and should.
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