Online Game Hopes to Cause Real-World Changes

An online game launching tomorrow will attempt to spur players into making headway against some of the world’s biggest problems.

CNN details the game, entitled Evoke, which is billed as an entry in the “alternate reality” genre. Developed by the World Bank Institute and designed by Jane McGonigal, the game will last ten weeks. Over the course of that time period, participants will be presented with new challenges and will attempt to make headway against the challenges in real-life. For example, if a current challenge involves famine, players might try “to provide meals for someone in their neighborhood.” Once they have documented their real-world actions, via a blog post, photo or video, they will receive credit for finishing the mission and can receive additional awards and rewards from fellow players.

Upon the game’s completion on May 12, players who complete all 10 challenges will be named a “Certified World Bank Institute Social Innovator – Class of 2010.” The best players can also receive travel scholarships and “online mentorships with experienced social innovators and business leaders from around the world.”

While anyone in the world can play Urgent Evoke, the game is designed for people in Africa, a place, which it’s noted, has less Internet access than anywhere else in the world. To that end, the game has been designed to work seamlessly on cell phones as well. So far 3,500 people have signed up to play the game, 400 of them from Africa.

CNN also has a short video up in which McGonigal gives an overview of Evoke.

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