Penn Students to Read Jane McGonigal’s ‘Reality Is Broken’ as Year of Games Is Launched

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Media Contact:Julie McWilliams | | 215-898-1422August 9, 2011


PHILADELPHIA – As part of their introduction to the University of Pennsylvania, incoming students will participate in the Penn Reading Project this fall with the book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal.

McGonigal examines the major role that video and computer games play in peoples’ lives.  While her research counts more than 174 million young Americans as regular gamers and suggests that the average young person will spend 10,000 hours playing by age 21, the author focuses on the positive role that games plays in social, mental and cultural development. 

The author will address the students Sunday, Sept. 4, during New Student Orientation, and immediately afterwards, the Class of 2015 will break up into small groups to discuss the book, led by faculty from the University’s 12 schools who volunteer as discussion leaders. 

This collective reading experience also will kick off the Year of Games:  Body & Mind, an interdisciplinary exploration of games in all of their manifestations – virtual, athletic, table, theoretical and historical -- across Penn’s schools and dozens of centers and programs. 

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Council of Undergraduate Deans and College Houses and Academic Services, the Year of Games offers students, faculty and staff games, lectures and symposia with celebrated scholars, conferences and site visits, all focusing on this significant social and economic phenomenon.

 One highlight will be a field day of competition from 4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17, at the new Penn Park, co-sponsored by Penn Athletics and the Year of Games.  There, Penn cardholders will be able to enjoy free food, drinks, inflatable games and music before heading off to Franklin Field for the first football game of the year.

The Penn Reading Project is now in its 21st year, having been created as an introduction for incoming freshmen to academic life at Penn. 

Additional information about the Year of Games and the Penn Reading Project is available at or by calling David Fox, director of NSO and Academic Initiatives, at 215-573-5636.