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Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal
Jane McGonigal Meet the Media Guru 1.jpg
Born (1977-10-21) October 21, 1977 (age 39)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Game designer, game researcher
Alma mater Fordham University
University of California, Berkeley
External video
Jane McGonigal Meet the Media Guru 1.jpg
Jane McGonigal: Massively multi-player... thumb-wrestling?, TED Talks, published November 15, 2013

Jane McGonigal (born October 21, 1977) is an American game designer and author who advocates the use of mobile and digital technology to channel positive attitudes and collaboration in a real world context.

McGonigal was brought up in New Jersey. Her parents are teachers and emphasized intellectual attainment. She has an identical twin sister, Kelly McGonigal, who is a well known psychologist.

McGonigal received her BA in English from Fordham University in 1999, and her PhD in performance studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006.

After earning her BA in English, she started developing her first commercial games. In 2006, at the age of 28, she earned a PhD in performance studies and continued developing games. In 2009, she suffered a debilitating concussion that helped her in the development of a game, Jane the Concussion Slayer, for treating her concussion and other similar conditions. The game was later renamed SuperBetter. In 2011, her first book was published. Her sister Kelly is a psychologist and also an author.

McGonigal writes and speaks about alternate reality games and massively multiplayer online gaming, especially about the way that collective intelligence can be generated and used as a means for improving the quality of human life or working towards the solution of social ills. She has stated that gaming should be moving "towards Nobel Prizes." McGonigal has been called "the current public face of gamification". Despite this, McGonigal has objected to the word, stating, "I don't do 'gamification,' and I'm not prepared to stand up and say I think it works, I don't think anybody should make games to try to motivate somebody to do something they don't want to do. If the game is not about a goal you're intrinsically motivated by, it won't work."

Year Title Organization Credit
2012 SuperBetter SuperBetter Labs Chief Creative Officer
2011 Find the Future: The Game New York Public Library Director
2010 Evoke World Bank Institute Creator
2009 Cryptozoo American Heart Association Director
2008 Top Secret Dance-Off Creator (under pseudonym Punky McMonsef)
2008 Superstruct Institute for the Future Director
2008 The Lost Ring McDonald's and The Lost Sport Director
2007 World Without Oil ITVS Interactive Participation architect w/ Ken Eklund
2006 Cruel 2 B Kind Concept and design w/ Ian Bogost
2005 Last Call Poker 42 Entertainment Live Events Lead
2005 PlaceStorming
2004 I Love Bees 42 Entertainment Community Lead/PuppetMaster
2004 Demonstrate
2004 TeleTwister
Date Award Description
2010 Named in O: The Oprah Magazine "2010 O Power List" Named in O: The Oprah Magazine as one of twenty important women of 2010 on the "2010 O Power List"
2008 Named one of the Top 20 Most Important Women in videogaming
2008 South by Southwest Interactive Award for Activism Awarded for World Without Oil
2006 Listed on MIT Technology Review's TR100 Named one of the world's top innovators under the age of 35 by MIT's Technology Review.
2005 2005 Innovation Award from the International Game Developers Association and a 2005 Games-related Webby Award. For I Love Bees, the Halo 2 promotion.



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