“Games are like soap,” McGonigal said. She thinks we should have them in every building and in our pockets. “Except we’re not killing germs, we’re killing boredom.”
The actual context is that soap has been around since the Romans, but only the hygienic awareness of last few hundred years have put it everywhere to combat disease. McGonigal sees a parallel with a ubiquitous game culture: “Why don’t we have games everywhere to kill lack of engagement, anxiety, lack of confidence, depression?” And I think that’s already happening in some ways, and it is valuable. Anxiety and boredom might not be fashionable conditions for society to deal with, but they’re enormously important. Oh God, it’s another topic from my yet-to-be-released book. (Hey, you can pre-order it on Amazon.) I wish these things came out a little faster. I spent the last year listening to game people give lectures and then saying “Yeah, I said that in my book, that ONLY MY EDITOR HAS READ.” Further notes from McG’s talk can be found over at Clickable Culture.