Review: Reality is Broken – Jane McGonigal

”We live in a world full of games.

More than 31 million people in the UK are gamers.

The average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by the age of twenty-one.

In this ground-breaking book, visionary game designer Jane McGonigal challenges conventional thinking and shows that games – far from being simply escapist entertainment – have the potential not only to radically improve our own lives but to change the world.”


Reality is Broken – Why Games Makes Us Better and How They Can Change the World is a non-fiction piece written by Jane McGonigal, who is one of my role models and someone I respect a lot. Jane McGonigal is a game designer, known for making alternate reality games, where reality becomes a big part of the game.

In Reality is Broken Jane McGonigal focuses on how we can use games to brighten our everyday lives and to change the world in a bigger perspective.

Let me start by saying that I could agree with almost everything, McGonigal envisioned and discussed in the book, and I find her ideas and perspectives very interesting and useful.

I also personally loved how much I could relate to the theory she spoke of, and how everything she said fit some sort of game I have played myself. For a gamer, the book was very relatable.

As for the structure of the book, I was not very happy though. McGonigal build her book up like an academic paper, where theory comes first, then analysis and discussion, whereas it would have been nice, if she had put her discussed examples straight after mentioning the fitting theory. I have never been fond of this structure, but of course, this is a personal opinion which differs a lot for different people.

Also for the writing, Jane McGonigal gets very repetitive as she keeps rephrasing the same thing many times. Unfortunately, if all the repetitive content was cut away, the book would be much thinner than it is now.

Looking away from the style of the writing, I really enjoyed the book, and I learned many new ways to use games in the real world. The book also introduced me to many alternate reality games that I had not known before, and I love alternate reality games, so I appreciate that a lot.

Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal (English), 396 pages, Vintage Books


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