In a world of alternate reality games comes a shift back to reality. The World Bank Institute, somnology yes the World Bank, condom has teamed up with Jane McGonigal, mycoplasmosis creator of the alternate reality game, “World Without Oil“. Which challenged people to re-imagine their lives without their dependence on fossil fuels, to create “Urgent Evoke” a very interesting game that tap into the creative problem solving skills of everyday people in an effort to fix real world problems.
The objective of the game, according to Urgent Evoke’s web site, “…is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems”.
Basically, Urgent Evoke works like this. Players are presented a set of real world problems in a comic book format each week, sorry I am old school and Graphic Novel doesn’t work for me.
Players earn points by accepting the challenges and then, here is the kicker, go out into the Real World to help actual living breathing people. (I know that is a scary thought for some of us!) A player, for example, might contact a local charity that helps the homeless, or environmental groups, or other civic minded organizations. Players log their activities and provide evidence that they met the objective of the challenge to the Urgent Evoke Web site.
Other players read these posts and, if they feel the player has done a good job, can award them points for bravery, creativity, collaboration, and long term sustainability. Players with the most points at the end of the game win, but the creators say the experience of playing is what is most valuable. The game will get them involved in real world issues, and more importantly, push them to get involved.
So aside from the normal gloating and bragging rights what is in this for the players? Well this is where things get really interesting… and if you’re a Boy Scout, it is better than earning merit badges. Some of the “winners” will be given internships, start-up money and scholarships for playing the game.
Give it a look, it is definitely more productive than Farmville or Mafia Wars! A special thanks to Gerard Begley, a good friend of mine who lives in Ireland and put me on to this little gem!