SuperBetter – When Serious Games can Give you a Longer Life

Serious Game Design has its superstar.

Jane McGonigal

Jane McGonigal, the “Madonna” of Serious Games

If Serious Games were Pop Music, Jane McGonigal would be Madonna! If you still don’t know who Jane is, then you are a lucky one because you can watch her great TED talks for the first time! She speaks about games and how they can make a better world. She has been creating amazing Serious Games for a long time and seems to be tireless. Today we rescue SuperBetter, a great project that was released in 2012 but had to be abandoned for a long time. Now, after being acquired by a new company and also thanks to the success of Jane’s book SuperBetter, the original project is coming back to life, which is exactly what it also promises to its players: coming back from that dark place. But what is this all about?

superbetter-gamification-app-onseriousgames-2The writer confesses her lack of trust in motivational books, meetings or congresses before playing this game. However, it seems that something else happens when you add the gamification factor. Jane McGonigal’s SuperBetter makes you encourage yourself to strike through things in your to-do list by applying gamification techniques. Start with daily small victories and then move forward to bigger challenges.

Either if you are using Superbetter for overcoming a depression, exercising more or for being more positive about yourself, you will find that Superbetter is easy to understand: you create a superhero as your alter ego and after defining your goals, you will find predefined Quests depending on your goal. You can also add personalized challenges. Every time you accomplish one, you will win Resilience points (mental, emotional, social or physical points). To help you in your quests, you can use Power-ups, apparently simple activities that are able to make you feel better instantly: listening to music, dancing like crazy, using the stairs… But be careful! You will also find enemies! Bad Guys are the obstacles in your life you have to beat. The sticky chair, the Zzzzzzombie, the Finger of Shame… all those things that make you feel bad about yourself or back off your goals.

superbetter logoStart playing and soon you will find yourself thinking “if I take the stairs I can mark it in the app!” and you just do that. You progress, get points and rewards while tracking your records and daily performance to check how many good things you have done for yourself recently. Some tasks are a bit undefined and the app could definitely be more visual, but the essence of gamification here does the main job. It makes it easier for you to recover step by step, guiding you in a friendly way.

Games like SuperBetter must have a story behind and definitely this one is worthy of the 20 minutes long TED talk Jane McGonigal gave in 2012 when introducing the game. You can find it at the end of this post. In 2009 Jane McGonigal suffered a concussion after hitting her head in her office. This forced her to stay lying in her bed for months and caused her headaches for almost a year. SuperBetter is the result of the game she created for herself, to escape from pain, desperation and even suicidal thoughts.

Sometimes we need a little push to be more positive about ourselves, other times to give up laziness and there are times when we just need to reorganize our priorities… It’s easier if you take it as a game to play, rather than a heavy to-do list or a talking head telling you what to do. Find some friends to help you on the process and enroll them. Recovery is healthier and more fun if you are surrounded by good will and support.

You like this game as much as we do? Then you can sign up as a SuperBetter 2.0 ally and stay updated about the future crowdfunding that will be released on Indiegogo.

Find more information about Superbetter at the official website or download it for free on your store.

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