Some think of games as a pass-time, or what you might choose to do when you are not doing anything serious. In fact, an alternative to the serious stuff we do most of the time. Yes, we (people, everywhere) play games for fun. And ‘fun’ is typically not how we might describe our work, and the challenges we face there.
I am reading Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken, and encourage anyone interested in the world of online games and what we can learn from them to do so as well.
Jenny Nicholson, creator of Spent, provides us with a gamer’s entry into modern-day poverty. An excellent article by Al Lewis sheds light on Ms. Nicholson’s story, and how she makes what is often just an intellectual exercise for many of us who are fortunate to have good jobs become a very real and intense situation.
I played the game for a few rounds and found myself zeroing in on my cash balance toward the end of the month, and feeling the dilemma of choices – food? Car repair? Day care? Doctor’s visit?
The most difficult choice many of us make is something on the order of paper or plastic. Games present us with an opportunity to be immersed in a staged reality – and in this case a reality that many of us on the outside need to experience just a bit.
Thanks, Ms. Nicholson, and give my regards to my colleagues back in Durham at the Duke CE office in the ATC (a few doors down).
Oh and go have a go at Spent: http://www.playspent.org/