Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Urgent EVOKE - Week One Reactions

Could a video game change the world for the better?  Let's find out.

The concept of EVOKE -- the browser/RL mmorpg which calls itself "a ten-week crash course in changing the world" -- is to take all of the highly addictive and social aspects of online gaming and use them to turn the click-happy into engineers of social change.  Curious?  A slick online presence, with a well-made comic and  hip grunge graphics, will seal the deal. 

Naturally, I signed up for an account.  Mission #1 came today, and instead of pondering which flash game to try on I found myself deciding exactly what my social agenda will be.  Do I care about the greening of the world?  Access to education? 

Each piece of Evidence (e.g. following a social innovator on twitter, reading an article and posting about it on an EVOKE blog) yields character points which you allocate to your powers.  Yes, powers.  Not Ranged Weapons or Mana Recovery, though:  Collaboration, Sustainability, Local Insight, etc.  Each action you log is reviewed, and if found suitable awarded points.  And as other users check out your stuff, they can give you points for it as well.  Forget grinding in a dungeon -- grind on the web looking for examples of urban farms.

So far it's a great concept carried out with flair.  I'm concerned about scalability, though; if it gets huge, how many staff will be needed to review the Evidence?  Either way, being a "certified EVOKE innovator" is sure to be more fulfilling than making Commodore Emeritus on Super Star Trek.  Not by much, but still.

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