McGonigal’s Year In Review

Of all the write-ups of 2007, few can be quite humbling as the one found on Jane McGonigal’s blog. The designer and futurologist, who you’ve probably encountered via I Love Bees, or a number of other game projects designed intended for our collective puzzle-solving, has had a far more interesting year than almost anyone else I’m acquainted with. A typical excerpt:

4. Favorite New Crazy Idea – Massively Multiplayer Science

In a nutshell: Wrapping serious scientific work in an alternate reality game framework to engage interdisciplinary researchers, knowledgeable amateurs, and even the general public in massively collaborative scientific research. I can’t explain this idea any better than I did in my talk at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) earlier this year. Here’s a summary and slides about Massively Multiplayer Science.

I also notice that McGonigal’s bio reads: “I’m trying to make sure that a game developer wins a Nobel Prize by the year 2032.”

Well, at least someone’s trying.


  1. DigitalSignalX says:

    mmmk. Raise your hand if you read the title and instantly thought of how Gryffindor won the house cup or the wrap up of a quidditch season.

    … anyone?

  2. Mike says:

    That’s a really nice article. Portal makes me think that the next ‘obvious’ gameplay mechanic to master is Time Travel. But there are a lot of ideas out there that are now much, MUCH more plausible than they might have been a year ago, brought on by the rise and rise of Steam, the advent of Portal and so on. As every year goes by and more innovation gets brought to the fore, people get closer to making games design an actual feat of design.

    What I think I like most about that piece – it’s probably true of the blog, I’ve not seen it before – is that she really does treat the field as something that can be thought about. It’s not something that you sit down and think, “Hell, what’s gameplay? Let’s put in arcade elements. Let’s get a story on paper.” You can actually approach it from an entirely different angle – an angle that doesn’t even end up with a game being published or money being made. There are things out there we’re seeing for the first time. Jim’s article on Gamers Saving The World made me think similar things the first time I saw it in PCG.

  3. Meat Circus says:

    Is ‘futurologist’ a word that means ‘prone to spewing meaningless buzzword-heavy drivel’?

    That’s what it looks like to me.

  4. Richard says:

    Meat Circus could do with actually reading some of the longer collections of works linked by the article and blog post :)