Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Alternate Reality Game Designer Jane McGonigal by Anastasia Suen

Do you like the challenge and adventure of video games? As Jane McGonigal was growing up, she had fun playing early video games. As an adult, she saw games as an outlet for problem solving and teambuilding.
McGonigal started creating alternate reality games (ARGs), which may be based online but take place mainly in the real world. She enjoys challenging others to engage in modern issues and to work together, as in her game World Without Oil and in The Lost Ring, which she created for the 2008 Summer Olympics. McGonigal was named one of the world's top innovators by MIT's Technology Review, and her 2010 TED Talk, "Gaming Can Make a Better World," is one of the most-watched of all time. But how did she get there? Find out how she developed her passion for games to become the public face of game design.

If your child has ever expressed interest in becoming a game designer for a living, you might want to show him or her this book.

In Alternate Reality Game Designer Jane McGonigal, readers get to learn about the life of Jane McGonigal. The book touches on her childhood, her education, as well as her career.

I was curious to read up on Jane's life, mainly because ARGs aren't that common in my country. I can actually only recall one such game but I don't think it was too popular, even if it was for the biggest mall chain in the Philippines.

ARGs seem like the perfect blend of gaming and advertising, though, and since I used to work in advertising, I was really interested in the book. While Jane's life is fascinating, and it certainly made me feel like learning coding in my spare time, I wish there had been more specifics about ARGs and coding. I think if there had been maybe a bonus chapter on that, even more kids may be encouraged to follow in Jane's footsteps.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publications for the e-ARC.


  1. Jane is inspiring.
  2. Kids may be encouraged to try their hand at coding and developing games.
  3. Kids get to see that games can help solve things like environmental issues.


  1. The book feels too short. 

Games have shown us our own potential for happiness, change, and success. 

  1. Your kid is interested in computers and coding.
  2. Your kid likes playing and creating games.
  3. You are looking for books that may inspire your child's future career. 



Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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