Just when I was starting to wonder what interesting thing I had really seen at sxsw (apart from a couple of sessions friends participated in), along came Jane McGonigal’s keynote. I knew it was The One I Must Not Miss while I was here. It did not fail to please. She has been the only one I have seen who has actually introduced some fresh(ish) academic theory into her talk – that of Happiness. She talked about 10 skills that games can give you which ultimately give you a better quality of “life”. Hence, why there is a mass exodus to virtual worlds.
- mobability: ability to coordinate at large scales
- cooperation radar: ability to attach who would be perfect collaborator for any given mission
- ping quotient: how good you are at reaching out and are good at responding to others’ engagement
- influencey: ability to adapt persusive ability: motivating people
- multi capitalism: monetary and social captial: recognising diff capital systems: getting people to trade those
- protovation: rapid, fearless innovation: failing is fun. fail quickly and a lot means you learn the most: gamers do this a lot
- open authorship: giving content away and acknowledging it will be changed: how to design content to make sure people can modify in positive ways
- signal/noise management: knowing what is signal and what is noise
- longbroading: zoomed out view of higher level systems
- emergent sight: you can spot patterns – things you weren’t expecting: being comfy with messy complexity (eg lost ring – multiple languages): seeing opportunities in messiness.
The thing about games and virtual story worlds – no matter how graphically sophisticated (or not) they are – is at least they give you feedback and points for doing things. That way we know instantly what our strengths and weaknesses are, and how we are doing. We don’t really get that in everyday life.
Then of course, she ended the session with a spontaneous Soulja Boy dance. As you do.