'EVOKE' Creator Jane McGonigal Designs a Game to Save the World

Credit: urgentevoke.com.
Jane McGonigal has an epic idea: Use the power of online gaming to help save the world. How? Channel the same concentration and focus that people put toward succeeding in games like World of Warcraft into efforts to solve real-world challenges like hunger, climate change and obesity. That last one means we can't spend all of our time in front of a keyboard and mouse. Her game is called "EVOKE."It's an online, 10-week series of missions and quests that takes its name from an African proverb: "If you have a problem, and you can't solve it alone, evoke it."

McGonigal's game seeks to empower people in Africa and around the world to come up with creative solutions to urgent social problems.

It's collaborative. Players accomplish each mission by uploading blog posts, photos and video. Other players can offer encouragement and extra game powers.

It's all done inside a graphic novel, set in the year 2020, about a secret group of African problem solvers.

"An evoke is an urgent call to innovation," says a posting at the EVOKE blog.

"Evoking first started in Africa, but it can happen anywhere. And if you found this message, then it is your destiny to join us."


The game started on March 3 and runs until May 12. But you can join at any time. Those who complete the 10 challenges will become members of the "Certified EVOKE Social Innovator in the Class of 2010." Something for the resume?

Players will be asked to create an action plan, or Evokation, on May 12, to compete for online mentorships and seed money for real-world projects. The top players in the game will be invited to an EVOKE Summit in Washington, D.C.

McGonigal explains more in a TED video:

EVOKE was commissioned by the World Bank Institute, whose mission is "to be a global facilitator of capacity development for poverty reduction, helping leaders, institutions, and coalitions address their capacity constraints to achieving development results."

Who out there is playing it? Leave your comments below.

Via: Do The Green Thing
More from TED:
TED Talk: Transition Founder on Peak Oil, Resilience and Sustainability (Video)
TED Talk: Save Our Future by Saving the Seeds (Video)
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Tags: Africa | Games | Global Climate Change