Compared to literature, film, television, and the other forms of media we regularly consume, video games are the new kids on the block. But they have taken the block by storm. Their popularity only increasing as each generation’s thumbs develop left and right brain coordination, they are also the most lucrative form of media in terms of profits. Despite the rise in popularity, misconceptions about video games persist. They cause violence. They isolate. They addict. And so on. What real-world research has to say about video gaming is something entirely different, however. Naturally, as with too much of anything, there can be problems, but as a whole the number of positives outweighs the negatives. The world, in fact, is round. In SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully (2016), Jane McGonigal takes advantage of the misconceptions by creating her own program: how “gaming” can improve our lives—without the need for a television or controller.
Aimed at people who are dealing with things from PTSD to procrastination, anxiety to loss, stress to motivational issues, depression to irrational fears, and a host of other problems, SuperBetter describes McGonigal’s program for tackling such issues in a manner heavily influenced by the science of games and cognitive behavior therapy. The program possible to be approached individually, with friends, or with professional help, McGonigal takes the conclusions, empirical and cognitive, from game research and implements them in a new form.