McGonigal says online games can even help people heal from injuries and achieve greater wellness in the face of disease. She used an interesting test subject to illustrate this point: herself.
In her talk, McGonigal shared that, following a severe concussion, she found herself bed ridden for three months with a voice in her head telling her that the pain would never end. As she explains, “I thought, ‘I am either going to kill myself, or I’m going to turn this into a game.’”
McGonigal chose the latter route, developing the online game SuperBetter, a series of challenges designed to boost physical, mental, emotional and social resilience. “Within three days of playing the game, that fog of depression and anxiety vanished,” said McGonigal. When she decided to make the game public, she began getting thank yous from across the globe, including from people with cancer and chronic pain.