I heard about Jane McGonigal and her book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and how They Can Change the World through a radio doc on CBC’s Spark.
She also has a TED talk.
Is this something libraries can get in on? Libraries have always been a sort of augmented reality tool (using analogue books (old fashioned information access) and now with more high-tech Internet based tools). It’s only one more step to add a game layer. The NYPL’s Find the Future is an example that combines learning and adventure through a mix of the physical library and laptops or smartphones. Gaming and reality are no longer so separate.
McGonigal may come off as a little optimistic, but she’s pushing an emerging idea. You can check out some of McGonigal’s games here.
What through video games is possible? Collaboration and crowd-sourcing scientific research? Breaking down social barriers? I don’t know if video games and gaming CAN solve all our problems. I do think that it is necessary to rethink radically what we can accomplish since it’s a media form that has pretty much overtaken EVERY other media we’ve ever come up with.