Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Fourteen - TEDTalks: Life Hacks - Jane McGonigal, "Games = Life Well Lived"

Scrolling through the almost endless plethora of documentaries and reality shows that Netflix offers, I was confronted with a very disturbing thought: there is just SO MUCH CRAP out there that it's hard to find something worth watching. Cake Boss, Comic Book Men, Extreme Cheapskates (I shit you not)... I just really, really don't watch to watch these tributes to American Pseudo-Exceptionalism.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of feature-length documentaries and very entertaining "science" shows that I dig watching. I do love me some Mythbusters and am really intrigued by A Band Called Death... it's just, I didn't want to invest a lot of time today. A half hour is about all I can book and still get my NaNo wordcount in (over 30k and counting, btw, on track to finish this coming Saturday).


Short bursts of informative, possibly inspirational non-fiction programming? TEDTalks. Has to be. And, today, I went to the Life Hacks season of TEDTalks that are available on the Instant Stream and clicked right to episode 2, Jane McGonigal's talk on "The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years Of Life."

Intriguing, no?

It turns out that Jane is a game designer by trade, go fig, and that she really thinks (and I agree) that time spent in games actually ISN'T wasted time, lost man-hours or moments of family time. Instead, it's a great way to BE connected to your families and friends, to play your idealized self, and reduce stress at the same time.

But, more than that, you can make a game that can help you live longer.

Jane has a personal story to tell... one of constant pain and mental torment where suicidal thoughts pervaded her waking moments, which were tortured enough as it is due to the aftereffects of Traumatic Brain Injury. In order to combat this morbid thought spiral, she enlisted people she trusted to help make a game out of her recovery. And it worked. It worked so well that she shared this process and, to folks around the globe, her SuperBetter concept helped others not only survive, but thrive during and after their own health trials.

And THIS... is what I LOVE... about TEDTalks.

Where smart, creative people share these relatively small ways to make life BETTER. Kudos to you, Jane McGonigal, in nineteen minutes you managed to make me cry and smile, get my butt into motion (however briefly), thank dear friends for their help and support, and watch a kitten call its mother, all in the interests of better living through games. Thank you.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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