Ultimate Fiero

In “Reality is Broken” Jane McGonigal raises some very interesting points about the shortcomings of our realities versus the benefits of gaming realities and some provides some helpful solutions to making our reality better. Although McGonigal champions video and alternate reality games as vehicles for this solution I would argue that you could easily apply these solutions to multiple platforms.

One of the main reasons McGonigal champions video games is their production of fiero in an individual. When I first read of fiero I immediately thought of my own greatest experience of fiero. It was an Ultimate Frisbee game my senior year of college that was either the end of our season or our ticket to the next playoff level. We were down 6-12 in a game to 13. With a spectator crowd larger than we had ever had before and nothing to lose we said to each other, well if this is it we might as well try to score another one. Before we realized it, one point turned to two, two turned to four, and four turned to a win. Those seven points were the most rewarding memorable moments of my life so far because of the daunting challenge we were up against and the reward on the line. After reading the book I now know I was experiencing a moment of fiero.

Because of this experience I understand the values and human needs McGonigal is looking to provide in our everyday realities, but also because of this experience I feel that we can fulfill many of these human needs in ways other than video games. That particular game was on a more epic scale than any before and after it, but I also think that every game had moments of fiero and flow. All sports, physical activities, and other games are about constantly increasing your skill and abilities and often you find yourself playing different teams or players with different skills or strategies that you have to tune your own game towards beating. Even with physical activity like working out in a gym you can challenge yourself to lift more weight or run at a higher intensity.

I think that in this way we can think about ways to apply what McGonigal is suggesting in real ways. A great example of this is the Fun Theory proposed by Volkswagen. Volkswagen is looking for great ideas on how to change human behavior for the better by making it fun to do. Many of these fun theories are in fact making these everyday activities into a game, such as the Bottle Bank Arcade and The Speed Camera Lottery. In this way I think we can apply McGonigal’s findings to multiple vehicles in order to better society.

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