Jane McGonigal, Ph.D. (born 1977) is a game designer and games researcher, specializing in pervasive gaming and alternate reality games. She worked with alternate reality game design company 42 Entertainment from 2004 to 2006, on projects including I Love Bees (2004) as Community Lead / Puzzle Designer, and Last Call Poker (2005) as Live Events Lead. Additionally, she has collaborated on commissioned games for the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
In recent years, McGonigal has grown especially interested in the way that massively multiplayer online gaming generates collective intelligence, and interested in the way that the collective intelligences thus generated can be utilized as a means of improving the world, either by improving the quality of human life or by working towards the solution of social ills. She has expressed a desire that gaming should be moving “towards Nobel Prizes.” These ideas informed her collaboration in World Without Oil (2007), a simulation designed to brainstorm (and potentially avert) the challenges of a post-peak oil future.
Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems? Jane McGonigal says we can, and explains how.