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Women in Games: The Gamasutra 20

May 21, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 12 of 21 Next

Jane McGonigal

Researcher, The Institute for the Future

Career overview

Jane McGonigal -- game designer, researcher, and alternate reality game specialist -- is now a "futurist" working on "how the games we play can change the way we experience the real world."

Previously of 42 Entertainment, McGonigal was one of the creative minds behind groundbreaking ARGs like ilovebees. With a PhD from Berkeley in performance studies, McGonigal now focuses on making games that can literally change the world -- for the better -- both by staging ARGs in various communities and by working with think tank Institute for the Future to understand how gaming can impact life to come.

Major accomplishments

McGonigal has been named one of the top 35 innovators changing the world by The MIT Technology Review. The Harvard Business Review called her theory of "alternate reality business" one of the top 20 breakthrough ideas of 2008.

She was been given the Innovation Award from the IGDA, and a Year in Review honors from The New York Times. She has also presented the keynotes at many important media conferences, including this year's SXSW.


One of the first designers to work in the field of ARGs, McGonigal has not only been a critical force in the development of the genre, she has also dedicated much time and energy to spreading the word about the power of such games.

What her peers say

Bonnie: "Jane isn't just amazingly creative, she's also bold in all the right ways. She's not shy about explaining that she'll settle for nothing less than a Nobel Prize in game design.

She knows games can make a difference -- that 'reality is broken' and she can fix it -- and she's not willing to take 'Couldn't you settle for something less?' for an answer. To see her in the midst of a game, whether she's discussing a world oil crisis or rolling cookies through foreign cities, even just her energy is inspiring."

Article Start Previous Page 12 of 21 Next

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