YANSS 227 – How games can teach us how to see the future coming so we can feel ready for anything

Jane McGonigal’s new book, Imaginable, details how she creates alternate reality games in which people take part in virtual worlds, and, in so doing, gain a sensitively to the cues (and a familiarity with the conditions) that could lead to certain outcomes, making it possible to both prevent those outcomes and create the futures they’d rather live in instead.


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From Publishers Weekly: “Futurist and game designer McGonigal delivers an illuminating look at how imagining the future can help to change one’s own life while making a difference in the world. … Expertly blending practical advice and big-picture thinking, this is a stimulating guide to preparing for the future. Readers will be inspired to put their imaginations to use.” Get your copy of Imaginable and upgrade your imagination now. And another rave, from Kirkus Review: “A fascinating book about how the future does not have to be an undiscovered country…. Some of the games she describes are for individuals, and some are for groups; the latter can be useful for team bonding, generating ideas, and, of course, having fun. The author includes a number of scenarios as the basis of gaming and discussion, but many readers will find that making up their own is even more enjoyable and productive. A wealth of interesting ideas combined with practical guidance for new thinking.”


Jane McGonigal, PhD, is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games — or, games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems. 

She believes game designers are on a humanitarian mission — and her #1 goal in life is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize.

She is a two-time New York Times bestselling author: Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World  and SuperBetter: The Power of Living Gamefully.

Her TED talks on how games can make a better world and the game that can give you 10 extra years of life, are among the all-time most popular TED talks, and have more than 15 million views.

She is best known as the inventor and co-founder of SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than a million players tackle real-life health challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. SuperBetter’s effectiveness in treating depression and concussion recovery has been validated in clinical trial and randomized controlled studies, and is used by professional athletes, children’s hospitals, substance recovery clinics and campus health centers worldwide. Since 2018, the SuperBetter app has been evaluated independently in multiple peer-reviewed scientific articles as the most effective app currently in the app store for treating depression and anxiety, and chronic pain, and for having the best evidence-based design for health behavior change.


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Links and Sources

Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – Patreon – SoundcloudOmnySpotify

Previous Episodes

Jane McGonigal’s Website

Jane McGonigal’s Twitter

The Institute for the Future Website

The Institute for the Future Twitter