Gamers play for a cure?

January 30, 2012 | Jane

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 A lot of people play computer games. Some play for hours every day.  Many people think that gamers waste a lot time.   Others think that gamers might just save the world and find the cure for cancer while they're at it.

Jane McGonigal will convince you that Gamers are the answer to all, or most of our problems, in her book, Reality is broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world. McGonigal’s research suggests gamers are expert problem solvers and collaborators. She writes, “If you are a gamer, it’s time to get over any regret you might feel about spending so much time playing games. You have not been wasting your time. You have been building up a wealth of virtual experience that... [has] developed world-changing ways of thinking, organizing, and acting. And, as this book reveals, there are already plenty of opportunities for you to start using them for real-world good.”

Realityisbroken Folditgame

Don’t believe it? Foldit is a great example. Foldit is a game created by computer engineers and cellular biologists at the University of Washington. Scientists spend a lot of time attempting to unravel the way different proteins are folded. The unique shape of a protein has a lot to do with their function in the cell so solving the fold could be very useful for finding cures to illnesses like HIV, cancer, and Alzheimer’s to name a few. Read more about Foldit and download the game at

Visit McGonigal’s website and view her TED Talk on how gaming can change the world at

Read more about how computer games can help us learn and change the world check out:

 “Don’t bother me Mom, I’m learning!”: How computer and video games are preparing your kids for twenty-first century success and how you can help! By Marc Prensky




 Powering up: Are computer games changing our lives? By Rebecca Mileham

You can learn about gaming or challenge your friends to save the world at Gaming events held at a Toronto Public Library near you.    Coming in 2012 -  Gaming events in North York Central's new Gaming Room.

 --  Nancy