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Gamefulness in Physical Distancing

Rachel Kippen writes a column for the Santa Cruz Sentinel about gamefulness in the time of covid and the work of Jane McGonigal, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the internet“:

When I lived in San Francisco in my twenties I was gifted a pair of tickets to see Dr. Jane McGonigal in conversation at the Herbst Theater. McGonigal is a Ph.D. game designer and author who embraces technology as a tool to create positive connections among physically disconnected people, oftentimes towards a beneficial societal goal such as reducing oil consumption or improving mental health.


But what I’ve seen of late is a society pivot, in a flash, working collectively towards the “epic win” of not harming the lives of those we hold so dear.[…] Adults, kids, and organizations across the Monterey Bay region are essentially playing massive games together, all day, every day from a distance.

I see new silver linings in the cloud. Does the virtual and distance-learning sphere increase freedoms to express our true selves and shed inhibitions? Are we more creative, humorous, sarcastic, verbose, and daring? Have we been galvanized by the ideas projected by others and then riffed off of them to further produce remarkable content, in real time? I can’t remotely begin to cite how many of my better thoughts were inspired by subconscious musings informed from exposure to virtual content. Internet avatars can give people and organizations permission to share in ways that they may never have before.