i’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to test superbetter, the health game from jane mcgonigal, today’s “it” health gamer who’s spoken at TED and written about how games will change our reality, and is now here with a game that’s going to make us all heroes of our own health.
i received the code to beta-test superbetter about a month ago, but i wanted to wait until i could devote the time to capturing the experience and my reactions. that time’s now.
i signed on last night, and my first reaction was: wow. different language and look than most wellness portals. you notice it right off. the rainbow colors. the sparse design. the invitation to “unleash your heroic potential.” heroic potential? i’m in.
and in i am. the next page advises me, “the adventure begins.” i’m excited! this is fun. the language is empowering and mysterious, all of the things that entice, excite and stimulate us. this isn’t my gramma’s health portal.
i click “health goal” because i’m not recovering from an injury or living with an illness. my health goal’s innocuous enough: get fit. once i select my goal, i’m launched ever deeper into the game experience.
again, note the language: “build your secret HQ.” “7 epic missions.” “i’m ready for my first mission.” i have that giddy feeling a kid does after getting an ample supply of spy gear for the holidays (yes, i know what i’m talking about). i enter my secret headquarters to start my seven epic missions.
mission #1: identify your epic win
about now i experience my second reaction: whoa. i feel overwhelmed. an epic win. i have no idea. i decide to consult the hints, but i’m still unsure. eventually i go with the decidedly tame: attend lithe class once/week (lithe method is an organized aerobics meets cheerleading meets jane fonda meets S&M class. great workout, though). i’m feeling pretty sure i failed my first mission. i’m by no means alone, i discovered later. when i consulted superbetter’s forums, i found others asking for help identifying their epic win or wondering what others had chosen.
mission #2: create my secret identity
this one’s super easy. i become diana rigg’s emma peel. there is no other funky-diva-ass-kicking-superhero greater than she, IMHO. next!
mission #3: bad guys
bad guys? this time i consult the forum groups and really get thrown for a loop. here’s one guy’s bad guys.i have performance anxiety reading these creative bad guys’ names
i determine that my bad guy is none other than lack of follow-through. i didn’t add “monster” or “itis” or anything to it. my jazzy energy is waning, so when i get to mission #4: identify your power ups! i decide it’s time to power down. i’ll save the remaining three missions for another day.
right now i’m feeling i stacked up poorly against the process and the creativity of others. NPR’s media producer also blogged about his experience, and i noted he didn’t take the naming of bad guys as the creativity challenge i did. he answered his missions straight up. i get that superbetter’s language is meant to fuel our feelings of personal power, and it did. at first. eventually, the language zapped my heroic potential as i clumsily worked through the setup.
completing my seven missions is the key to getting started with superbetter, so it’ll be onward ho! for me in the next post. i’m curious to see how my missions fold into my overall experience with superbetter and my individual game too.