Events

World-renowned gaming expert Jane McGonigal: Using Games to Change the World

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Tue, 10/04/2011 - 6:00pm
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Jane McGonigal, PhD, is an expert on alternate reality games and a renowned game developer. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Jane McGonigal, a leader in the growing movement to create online games that are socially conscious and rooted in real-world problems will be speaking in a special forum at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service on Oct. 4.

McGonigal, a world-renowned game designer, combines cutting-edge graphics with smart, sophisticated examinations of problems like war, poverty, human trafficking and illegal immigration. This event will be held at the Pugh Hall Ocora and begins at 6 p.m. Among McGonigal’s more famous games is EVOKE, an elaborate online social networking game she developed for the World Bank to illicit solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Top players in that game earned online mentorships with experienced social innovators and business leaders from around the world, seed funding for new ventures, and scholarships.

McGonigal has a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught game design and theory. She has consulted and developed internal game workshops for more than a dozen Fortune 500 and Global 500 Companies, including Intel, Nike, Disney, McDonalds, Accenture, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Most recently, McGonigal is the New York Times bestselling author of “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.” She currently serves as a founder and Creative Director for Social Chocolate, where she is making games powered by the science of positive emotion and social connection.

McGonigal believes that “games can change the world” for the better. “The best hope we have for surviving the next century on this planet?” McGonigal says on her website. “We need to achieve 21 billion hours of online gaming a week by the year 2020. That’ll be just an hour a day, every day, for half of the people on Earth.” “My #1 goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I’ve forecast that this will happen by the year 2023,” she adds. “Of course, it’s not enough to just forecast the future — I’m also actively working to make it a reality.”

Her latest game, SuperBetter, is designed to increase resilience in the face of any illness or injury, or health and wellness goal. The game, which is in clinical trials at Ohio State University’s Medical Research Center, has been used to overcome concussions, chemotherapy, reduce stress, lose weight, and quit smoking.

She has appeared at TED, the New Yorker, and the Web 2.0 summit, among others. Business Week has named her "one of the top 10 innovators to watch." Watch Jane McGonigal on the Colbert Report.

In the headlines:

The Economist: Jane McGonigal picks carrots

 Forbes: Gamification Gets Down to Business

If you can't attend the event in person, it will be streamed live and archived on our website at www.bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu.