Increase your lifespan by 7.68 minutes by playing games? It sounds loco. But this was Jane McGonigal’s special mission at her TED talk back in June of 2012. When you consider the negative connotations that go with gaming—a waste of time, an escape from reality, an unhealthy addiction—you can see why many were skeptical at the idea of boosting their life spans simply by playing Angry Birds. While it sounds incredible and a little crazy, it sure had a big impact on the audience.
With scientific findings, some wicked math, and her own life story, Jane was able to wow the world, proving that games do have positive life-changing benefits that can help even those suffering from clinical depression, anxiety, and disease.
One such game is able to do this, and that’s Jane’s very own brainchild: SuperBetter. Beautifully designed for the iPhone, this app aims to boost the four levels of personal resilience – physical, mental, emotional, and social – through power-ups, quests, defeating the baddies, and recruiting allies. By performing and accomplishing both pre-made and custom tasks, you can unlock power-ups and complete missions. More importantly, they help you gain the confidence, strength, and optimism you need to tackle and conquer life’s toughest challenges.
So, how exactly do you play the game? There are several to-dos that you can start off with, but we recommend taking on the Hero, Start Here! quest first. With three quests to accomplish, three power-ups to activate, and a bad guy to fight, you can get the feel of the game and see how it tackles the different aspects of one’s resilience.
Heads-up though. It’s been a year since the game was updated, so phones running iOS 7 will experience errors while navigating the app. We do hope Jane and her team will jumpstart re-development soon. It would be great to see new features and more power-packs to keep us going.
At the heart of SuperBetter is Jane’s firm belief in the power of gaming and its effects on the real world. In fact, she talks about this extensively in her book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. If you’re into games or would like to read more about her philosophies about games and their impact on society, this is a great book to dive into.
And since we’re all about creativity and contribution, we think her initiative is courageous and revolutionary; the world needs more of these ideas and passionate people to bring them to life.
If you want to give SuperBetter a swing, you can get the app at a mere $4.99 from the iTunes App Store. We think it’s a fun way to get through life’s ups and downs, and a terrific reminder that with willpower and creativity, we can become stronger and happier individuals.
Photo Credits: SuperBetter.com, SuperBetter App, and JaneMcGonigal.com