Friday, August 23, 2013

jane mcgonigal - play hard

Jane McGonigal (@avantgame)
8/23/13 6:48 AM
The full text of my @MiamiUniversity convocation speech, with game instructions! "The Hard Part is the Fun Part"
Good morning! And congratulations. You’ve put in a lot of hard work to get here today, and your reward is that from now on, you get to choose your own adventures. This is a wonderful power to have. You are now officially in charge of your own destiny. And you’ve earned it. So please, have fun with it. Enjoy everything. Even the hard parts! In fact, especially the hard parts. If there’s anything I’ve learned as a game designer, it’s that the hard part is the fun part. We need a good challenge to have fun, to feel alive, to unleash our strengths, to turn strangers into teammates and allies. This is why we play games – sports, videogames, all games. We play them because nothing makes us happier or stronger than tackling a tough challenge that we choose for ourselves.

Games remind us that we actually have more fun when things are more difficult.

Good games should also bring out our best qualities. Some of the qualities I particularly like to bring out in players of my games are courage, creativity, and empathy – the ability to imagine what someone else is going through.

Other friends suggested more competitive games. We could find out who among you can fly your plane the highest, or the furthest. But honestly, that’s just not my idea of what makes an awesome game. With a game like that, we would have 1 winner and 3999 losers. That’s just lazy game design. The last thing I want to do today is turn 3999 of you into losers. I’m not going to do that. It’s much harder for a game designer  – but more satisfying, I think – to design a game where it’s possible for everyone to win. Or even better, to not be sure who won, so you have to keep playing.

An infinite game has no fixed rules or boundaries. In an infinite game you play with the boundaries and the purpose is to continue the game.
Finite players are serious; infinite gamers are playful.”

Now if for some reason you would prefer not to play today, that’s okay. Because play should be voluntary, so if for any reason you are not feeling inspired to join us in this game, I want to encourage you to consider participating in a different way. It would be great to get some photos or videos of whatever happens. So if you decide to sit the game out, perhaps you would helps us all out by pulling out your phone and getting some photos or video of all the airplanes flying!


So while we are all in the mindset of infinite play, let me end by sharing with you a few more words Professor James Carse, some advice which I’m sure he would have written on his paper airplane if he were here today. This is his advice for how to play the game of life. He wrote:
“You can do what you do seriously, because you must do it, because you must survive to the end, and you are afraid of dying or failing or other consequences. Or, you can do everything you do playfully, always knowing you have a choice, having no need to survive the way you are, allowing every element of the play to transform you, taking pleasure in every surprise you meet. Those are the differences between finite and infinite players.”