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Not Just a Game: Female Game Designer Solves Real-World Problems

Jane McGonigal quote: Gaming can make a better world
Female game designer Jane McGonigal says that gaming can make a better world. Illustration by Kirby Salvador.

Jane McGonigal (*1977)

A game designer living in San Francisco, Jane McGonigal creates games that address real-world problems including poverty, hunger and climate change. The director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, McGonigal creates alternate reality games like SuperBetter, which helps players tackle health issues like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. The author of “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World,” she advocates for ways to utilize the collective intelligence of the online gaming community in tackling social problems. A game designer since 2006, her primary goal is to see a game designer win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Quotes by Jane McGonigal:

“Gaming can make a better world.”

“Gamers always believe that an epic win is possible and that it’s always worth trying, and trying now. Gamers don’t sit around.”


This feature originally appeared in the Play issue. For more inspiring women, check out Esperanza Spalding’s story and our Women in History section.