Jane McGonigal

Modern Drama 48:3 (Fall 2005) 471-491.

Mostly, I so appreciated McGonigal’s tone in this piece–academic and stellar throughout. McGonigal makes gaming look both fun and smart. Woot!

I connected with this piece via the conversation on community (I think this has been Sarah’s one theme throughout the year: and holding strong). The ultimate idea behind supergaming, really, is that of connecting as many individual parts as possible. And, yet, as the article progresses McGonigal discusses “too much” community, not in that she agrees that their can be too much, but that once a community becomes so large that one individual cannot possibly intimately know each other person, the community becomes and audience. Wow! I am struggling with just the community aspect, much less being so big that I have an audience.

This makes me wonder, though, should I begin to think of my readers as a community rather than an audience? I mean, obviously, I am not famous or anything and those that do read my writing are closer to me and I know them more intimately. I hope this revelation will give me a new insight into my own (namely fiction) writing and allow me to respect my readers a lot more. When one is writing for a community of readers, it seems so much more personable, I think. Stellar. Totally tangential, but stellar nonetheless.

So then we have some big terms and definitions which (I think) have helped me understand a bit more of the gaming culture:

“Ubiqutous computing (ubicomp, for short) is the practice of connecting and embedding increasingly smaller and more mobile computing devices and network technologies in everday environments and public spaces” (473).

“the virtual and the material, or ‘cyberspace and meatspace'” (474).

ludic=game-like and spectacular=intended to generate and audience and both of them together=’supergaming’ (476).

Supergaming is intended to invoke four key attributes of the trend: massively scaled, embedded in and projected onto everyday public environments, heightens the power and capabilities of its players, harnesses teh play of distributed individuals in a high-performance problem solving unit (476).

“supergaming provides a paradigm for both critical and practical engagement with the promissing possibility of massively scaling digital community” (476).

“Community…arises from a two-way relationship and a multiplicity of network nodes, that is, points of intersection among its members that afford direct communication and social interaction” (477).

Questions regarding the community/audience dilemma: “Can we push the magic number at which this community-to-audience shift occurs higher through network tecnologies? and What’s really so bad about groups becoming more audience-like, anyway?” (479: This quote brought to you be a ‘My Most Favorite McGonigal Moment’).

Massive Multiplayer Thumb-Wrestling–this just sounds wicked cool and so I felt the need to see what it felt like as I typed it!

“game design is essentially the design of surprise” (488).

Trivia Question: What was one of the first productions to inspire an interactive/public medium? Think Tom Cruise. Or you can go Old School and think Orson Welles.

 

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