Jane McGonigal: Massively multi-player… thumb-wrestling?


Today I am going to teach you how to play my favorite game: massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling. It’s the only game in the world that I know of that allows you, the player, the opportunity to experience 10 positive emotions in 60 seconds or less. This is true, so if you play this game with me today for just one single minute, you will get to feel joy, relief, love, surprise, pride, curiosity, excitement, awe and wonder, contentment, and creativity, all in the span of one minute. So this sounds pretty good, right?
Now you’re willing to play. In order to teach you this game, I’m going to need some volunteers to come up onstage really quickly, and we’re going to do a little hands-on demo. While they’re coming up, I should let you know, this game was invented 10 years ago by an artists’ collective in Austria named Monochrom. So thank you, Monochrom. Okay, so most people are familiar with traditional, two-person thumb-wrestling. Sunni, let’s just remind them. One, two, three, four,
I declare a thumb war, and we wrestle, and of course Sunni beats me
because she’s the best. Now the first thing about
massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling, we’re the gamer generation. There are a billion gamers on the planet now, so we need more of a challenge. So the first thing we need is more thumbs. So Eric, come on over. So we could get three thumbs together, and Peter could join us. We could even have four thumbs together, and the way you win is you’re the first person
to pin someone else’s thumb. This is really important. You can’t, like, wait while they fight it out and
then swoop in at the last minute. That is not how you win. Ah, who did that? Eric you did that. So Eric would have won. He was
the first person to pin my thumb. Okay, so that’s the first rule, and we can see that three or four is kind of the typical number of thumbs in a node, but if you feel ambitious,
you don’t have to hold back. We can really go for it. So you can see up here. Now the only other rule you need to remember is, gamer generation, we like a challenge. I happen to notice you all have some thumbs you’re not using. So I think we should kind of get some more involved. And if we had just four people, we would do it just like this, and we would try and wrestle both thumbs at the same time. Perfect. Now, if we had more people in the room, instead of just wrestling in a closed node, we might reach out and try
and grab some other people. And in fact, that’s what we’re going to do right now. We’re going to try and get all, something like, I don’t know, 1,500 thumbs in this room connected in a single node. And we have to connect both levels, so if you’re up there, you’re going to be reaching down and reaching up. Now — (Laughter) — before we get started — This is great. You’re excited to play. — before we get started, can I have
the slides back up here really quick, because if you get good at this game, I want you to know there are some advanced levels. So this is the kind of simple level, right? But there are advanced configurations. This is called the Death Star Configuration. Any Star Wars fans? And this one’s called the Möbius Strip. Any science geeks, you get that one. This is the hardest level. This is the extreme. So we’ll stick with the normal one for now, and I’m going to give you 30 seconds, every thumb into the node, connect the upper and the lower levels, you guys go on down there. Thirty seconds. Into the network. Make the node. Stand up! It’s easier if you stand up. Everybody, up up up up up! Stand up, my friends. All right. Don’t start wrestling yet. If you have a free thumb, wave it around, make sure it gets connected. Okay. We need to do a last-minute thumb check. If you have a free thumb,
wave it around to make sure. Grab that thumb! Reach behind you. There you go. Any other thumbs? Okay, on the count of three, you’re going to go. Try to keep track. Grab, grab, grab it. Okay? One, two, three, go! (Laughter) Did you win? You got it? You got it? Excellent! (Applause) Well done. Thank you. Thank you very much. All right. While you are basking in the glow of having won your first massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling game, let’s do a quick recap on the positive emotions. So curiosity. I said “massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling.” You were like, “What the hell is she talking about?” So I provoked a little curiosity. Creativity: it took creativity to solve the problem of getting all the thumbs into the node. I’m reaching around and I’m reaching up. So you used creativity. That was great. How about surprise? The actual feeling of trying to wrestle two thumbs at once
is pretty surprising. You heard that sound go up in the room. We had excitement. As you started to wrestle, maybe you’re starting to win
or this person’s, like, really into it, so you kind of get the excitement going. We have relief. You got to stand up. You’ve been sitting for awhile, so the physical relief, getting to shake it out. We had joy. You were laughing, smiling.
Look at your faces. This room is full of joy. We had some contentment. I didn’t see anybody sending text messages
or checking their email while we were playing, so you were totally content to be playing. The most important three emotions, awe and wonder, we had everybody
connected physically for a minute. When was the last time you were at TED and you got to connect physically
with every single person in the room? And it’s truly awesome and wondrous. And speaking of physical connection, you guys know I love the hormone oxytocin, you release oxytocin, you feel bonded
to everyone in the room. You guys know that the best way
to release oxytocin quickly is to hold someone else’s hand
for at least six seconds. You guys were all holding hands
for way more than six seconds, so we are all now biochemically primed to love each other. That is great. And the last emotion of pride. How many people are like me. Just admit it. You lost both your thumbs. It just didn’t work out for you. That’s okay, because you learned a new skill today. You learned, from scratch,
a game you never knew before. Now you know how to play it.
You can teach other people. So congratulations. How many of you won just won thumb? All right. I have very good news for you. According to the official rules of massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling, this makes you a grandmaster of the game. Because there aren’t that many
people who know how to play, we have to kind of accelerate the program more than a game like chess. So congratulations, grandmasters. Win one thumb once, you will
become a grandmaster. Did anybody win both their thumbs? Yes. Awesome. Okay. Get ready to update your Twitter or Facebook status. You guys, according to the rules, are legendary grandmasters, so congratulations. I will just leave you with this tip,
if you want to play again. The best way to become a legendary grandmaster, you’ve got your two nodes going on. Pick off the one that looks easiest. They’re not paying attention. They look kind of weak. Focus on that one and do something crazy with this arm. As soon as you win, suddenly stop. Everybody is thrown off. You go in for the kill. That’s how you become a legendary grandmaster
of massively multiplayer thumb-wrestling. Thank you for letting me
teach you my favorite game. Wooo! (Applause) Thank you. (Applause)

98 comments

  • chardychar

    Let's play

    Reply
  • Pranav Desai

    More Thumby than thought.;)

    Reply
  • Lintassimilator

    It's her again! 😀 (yes I remember ^^)

    Reply
  • Talladega Tom

    Massively multi-player mud wrestling is next.

    Reply
  • Sligui28

    Every year the leaders of the world should come together and play this game… 

    Reply
  • Jaden Oldfield

    Improv anywhere should do this somewhere, although she took liberties with many of the definitions, and I'm still not sure what the point of the "10 emotions", or what the point of the entire thing at all was, reminds me of the rock paper scissors documentary, that was awesome yet pointless.

    Reply
  • Steven Hall

    WTF…………………

    Reply
  • Gaius Julius Caesar

    I wouldn't mind having a thumb war with you Jane McGonigal.

    Reply
  • Donovan

    http://www.zdnet.com/forced-google-plus-integration-on-youtube-backfires-petition-hits-112000-7000023196/

    Well this took long enough…

    Reply
  • inc95

    i feel two of those

    Reply
  • freedom

    I wouldn't mind fingering her. Much better game

    Reply
  • Skavar4000

    Apparently anyone is eligible to deliver… and just about anything can be the subject of a 'ted' talk . I think this is called diluting your stock.

    Reply
  • naejin

    I don't like how Jane McGonigal keeps proclaiming something, then say, "This is True."  Maybe I'm just cynical, but I generally find people who try to convince you of something by saying "This is True.", don't really have enough evidence to be proof positive, so they try to bridge the gap of convincing someone by just telling them to believe them.

    Reply
  • Sea Pig

    I'm a legendary grandmaster at other things I do with my fingers.

    Reply
  • Motasem Nabulsi

    And the winner is …
    Oh opps no one knows !!!

    Reply
  • Thomas Hamer

    I'm 100% sure that World of Warcraft gives out all these emotions at the same time when you kill a boss, not just over the span of 7 minutes, so to say it's the only game that lets you get those emotions, that's a very silly statement

    Reply
  • xphilli

    Another idea not worth sharing. 

    Reply
  • Durakken

    Please TED… knock this off… This was perhaps the biggest, or almost biggest, waste of time TED talk you've put on here v.v I was content with listening to her stupidity hoping that she would say something worthwhile at the end and that some how it was all tied together…nope… just her prattling on about something stupid v.v

    Reply
  • eternalearth88

    This was awesome!

    Reply
  • TheGerogero

    I won't say that doesn't look fun… But why is this on TED…

    Reply
  • Back Health 101

    I love you!

    Reply
  • Oli Allan

    ha this is so retarded, they take down Alex Greys talk on Art being a great source of bringing humanity together and evolving consciousness. 
    but they keep up this, pointless party-banter-level shit, which she should save for party talk, as fair enough, thumb wars are kinda fun. but not profound or deep in the slightest.

    Reply
  • LanttuLoL

    Oh god this is absolutely ridiculous, loving it!

    Reply
  • Dmitry Elizarov

    Don't get me wrong. It was fun. But looked a lot like what TED-talks could be in a universe where blonde women are treated as the smartest people. I'd be happy to see less videos per week but with more sense and depth than just an idea like "holding hands is great!".

    Reply
  • Sophia Bryan

    This looks like too much fun!

    Reply
  • chocomalk

    Twister is more fun.

    Reply
  • abhijeet ..

    dont waste my time

    Reply
  • Vít Savický

    Is it just me or is she describing pretty much every single worthwhile game?
    Joy, check. Relief, check. Love, check. Surprise, check. Pride, check. Curiosity, check. Excitement, check. Awe & Wonder, check. Contentment, check. Creativity, check.

    Those are the necessary components in every game. What is so special about Thumb-wrestling, that games like Battlefield, Starcraft or World of Warcraft cannot do?

    Reply
  • Aaron Cras

    There's a much better game to occupy woman's hands. And a mouth, too.

    Reply
  • Miloš Maran

     
    G+                     G+   
     ▌︻╦╤─     ☻/▄/▌         Bob is held hostage                           
    /                     // \         and raped by Google+

    Reply
  • Buildings1772

    I remember when ted was about ideas worth spreading

    Reply
  • Fabrice Goosens

    Is this an actual TED talk? serious?

    Reply
  • Yggsdrazl

    this is the second most fun thing you can do with your thumbs

    Reply
  • DarkSamuraiX1989

    ITS MISTER CAFFEINE'S SOUL MATE!!!

    Reply
  • DarkSamuraiX1989

    @Vit Savicky I can get ALL of those emotions from Borderlands 2 with my shotgun that shoots 3 swords that explode and spawn more swords upon impact that also explode.

    Reply
  • Herbagamers

    I love this chick seriously

    Reply
  • Jammybrown11

    Was not expecting one of my favourite authors to be on TED this morning. Would recommend 'Reality is Broken' to everyone in the comments. Jane is awesome.

    Reply
  • Ro4aL

    My first impression "WTF is this shit….?". By the end of the video it did not change.

    Reply
  • Eddie Pollard

    That was awesome, but I think you have to know her to understand why it's so great.

    Reply
  • jason frost

    This is not TED material, what a waste of 7 minutes! 

    Reply
  • Urcad Elima

    funny,,,,,

    Reply
  • KinnArchimedes

    Not quite the equivalent of an air guitar talk, but close to as pointless.

    Reply
  • Sabreus

    i think it's funny how watching a ted talk about chimps or ice in the poles is legitimate, but watching something that's basically studying the effects of games on humans is not legitimate… I think this is was a good Ted talk…

    Reply
  • Ben Dance

    Absolutely wonderful, Simple yet a beautifully positive idea.
    That, is worth spreading.

    Reply
  • WhiteslashblackMan

    Well i just found my new favourite drinking game… 😀

    Reply
  • yangkwan-kwan lee

    How great leadership !! I love you Jane 🙂

    Reply
  • Catching Shade

    Assuming everybody would put their drinks down for 3 seconds I would love to try this in a bar.

    Reply
  • Tom Ford

    G+                     G+   
     ▌︻╦╤─     ☻/▄/▌         Bob is held hostage                           
    /                     // \         and raped by Google+

    Reply
  • John Smith

    This is purely entertainment, useless and unproductive but that's what playing games is all about. Jane is pretty well known for these kind of talks. No offense but it's still pretty fun to watch.

    Reply
  • Richard Petron

    Way to make such an impact in 7 minutes.

    Reply
  • videosaala

    richard…thats wt i was thinking too..lol

    Reply
  • Greg Falconio

    This woman is the biggest waste of time, she prances around as a self-proclaimed game-designer, giving these horrible speeches; just go look her up on Wikipedia, she's never even contributed to one noteworthy or interesting title, she is a fraud.

    Reply
  • Shane Cox

    WTF?

    Reply
  • OmnicideX

    When does the expansion pack comes out and how much is the monthly fee?

    Reply
  • Michael Choe

    Only she can make a bunch of scientists play thumb war

    Reply
  • El Látigo Lector

    The video was kinda fun but TED talk material? I don't know about that.

    Reply
  • housecup1

    I think she is a beautiful person. 🙂

    Reply
  • Hytherdel

    This wasn't necessary

    Reply
  • Titurel

    I felt the emotions of boredom and annoyance…

    Reply
  • Lavalambtron

    What a stupid game, women only come up with stupid ideas that always depressingly revolve around some form of bonding, sigh…

    Reply
  • Leonidas GGG

    Not profound or even that interesting, but definitelly a positive Talk. Me like.

    Reply
  • Jaypee Medina

    So how is love actully possitive?

    Reply
  • Derek D.

    Fucking stupid video!!

    Reply
  • Jay Wilkins

    Creativity is an emotion?

    Reply
  • consumoholic

    why.. the hell is this on ted?

    Reply
  • Mahisa Giri

    "this game invented 10 years ago" ?????
    I've been playing this game since 90s

    Reply
  • MastermindX

    To be honest I prefer GTA5.

    Reply
  • IAmWadwill

    I think it wasn't a bad idea at all, for a TED talk, but it shouldn't be considered a TED talk, I mean, it was a good idea because in the end it was all she said (except love) people had a good time which in a row of TED talks it's useful, but it shouldn't be here for example posted as a TED talk because it made me waste some of my time, that I was using to watch actual interesting footage about science, politics, society, design, etc. Which is what TED talks were made for. A damn shame…

    Reply
  • maggit

    What is this I don't even…
     It feels like I'm watching The Onion Talks…

    Reply
  • The Aaronters

    If you love funny videos, then check out our channel now! We're sure to make you laugh! 🙂

    Reply
  • Seventh Universe

    I got a hard-on when my hand was wrestling the woman next to me and my cock touching her ass as she wiggles her bum and my elbow rubbing her large tits and oh the smell of perfume made it worse. As a man I just could not concentrate… this is dumber than twister. not to mention catching disease from others, please don't touch me.

    Reply
  • Cole Jordan

    a billion gamers? Are you serious there's really only like 2,000

    Reply
  • Play Challenging Games

    this turning into a kids show?

    Reply
  • mobspeak

    wasted my time watching this nonsense 

    Reply
  • ADL EJ

    Thumbs up for thumb-wrestling. 

    Reply
  • SometimesOriginal

    The next day they all died of the plague….

    Reply
  • 4OTKO

    damn. did i just watch some hipsters hanging out? thanks ted for some positive emotion. was nice knowing you.

    Reply
  • Vardagaladhiel

    Fantastic! I had fun just watching this!

    Reply
  • DebeshUtube

    Big Fun watching this… Ted talk on a joyful note, The passion of connecting with people can be so simpler..!!!!…but God my fingers were busy with the Keys… I wish I could put an Audio…Surprise…Surprise..!!!!….?????

    Reply
  • Tim Taylor

    @HappyColdCut What cave are you hiding in? Theres billionS of gamers on this planet alone.

    Reply
  • Jonathan Lin

    Anyone complaining that this talk wasn't "intellectual enough" has completely missed the point.  No, this talk didn't teach us how to build moon colonies.  It was a demonstration of how easy it is to connect and engage people.  The retracing of old neural pathways and the forging of new, even ones for so basic an activity, is a stimulating experience that creates a desire for more.  If you honestly felt no creative excitement / a small wondrous link to your days as a child, I would, respectfully, posit that there is a slight possibility that you may be brain dead.

    Reply
  • Miranda N

    Meanwhile the elites are going forward with the TPP & TTIP to screw us…

    Reply
  • mtneves77

    Whenever ted talks hint at talking about video games it's always something lame and often has nothing to do with video games.

    Reply
  • Willbryan Garcia

    Joke??? It's a novelty. Something i would expect from a fluff reporter.
    But from TED? "Ideas worth spreading"???

    Reply
  • Willbryan Garcia

    Joke??? It's a novelty. Something i would expect from a fluff reporter.
    But from TED? "Ideas worth spreading"???

    Reply
  • MedEighty

    Coming to an office bonding session near you! 😀

    Reply
  • Dingleberry Dan

    This is awesome!

    Reply
  • itscrazytrevor

    Who would have thought with all the great minds and thinkers of our time plus cutting edge technology that Ted Talks would end up teaching people to thumb wrestle?

    Reply
  • Sammy Stinx

    I like totally fancy her now. And wondering what other emotions she can put me through 😉

    Reply
  • Felix Suazo Jr

    OMG i wanna play…

    Reply
  • Sin-tshong Tsu

    Looks cool! I will try next time when I hang out with my friends!

    Reply
  • A Leaf

    parts of this game including the "pinning" of your thumb down gives serious rape connotations and it triggered me greatly.

    Reply
  • 1stNovaTitan

    She's my favorite game designer. Miyamoto is a peasant compared to her.

    Reply
  • A Hud

    This is awesome 😟

    Reply
  • Winnie The Flu

    why are you checking the comments on this video

    Reply
  • Heather Legler

    Wait a sec…"123, start!" is not how you start a thumb war. Lol!

    Reply
  • Kryptönïtë Scï Fï Sïnïstër

    PLAYBOY!!!! <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  • Nina Mandel

    Yes, this DOES belong on Ted. Content is important, but so is getting everyone to cooperate. If you can do this in 60 seconds, it belongs on TED!

    Reply

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