EVERYTHING ABOUT THE GAME:
Learn About WWO
ENTER THE WWO ARCHIVE:
Week 1: The Shock Begins
Relive the Oil Crisis of 2007. Use the WWO Time Machine (at the top of the page) to jump from week to week and to exit the archive.
Can an alternate reality game take on a real world problem? Can a game bring people together to collaborate on a trial run of their common future? What motivates people to play a game which doesn't have points or prizes or winners per se? WWO tested out many game and social networking concepts.
A game can tap into the awesome
problem-solving capabilities of an
Internet "collective intelligence"
and apply them to real world problems.
Commercial alternate reality games have successfully engaged large numbers of players to solve exceedingly difficult puzzles and tasks. World Without Oil showed that it's possible to construct a narrative that brings the same "human supercomputer" to focus on solving real-world problems and issues.
A game can "crowd-source" an
exceedingly complex problem -
i.e., use "collective imagination"
to visualize the issues and massively
multi-author prescriptive actions from
a "boots on the ground" perspective
Research is showing that "the wisdom of crowds" can outperform panels of experts when addressing certain kinds of questions. In World Without Oil, people not only helped create and quantify a more complete imagining of an immensely complex disaster, they helped visualize realistic and achievable solutions.
A game can engender a "what if?" social space
where people feel welcome to express views
and encouraged to interact about ideas
World Without Oil shaped a non-threatening, collaborative game space that encouraged people to express their ideas and to engage in peer-to-peer learning. The gamemasters exercised a minimum of guidance, entirely through positive recognition of well-conceived and well-expressed ideas. The game called upon players to act in a civic capacity, entirely in keeping with the emergency scenario, and players responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to contribute.
Via a game, people can experience
a possible future "from inside," which
can be more engaging and life-changing
than passive, non-interactive experiences -
and it's also satisfying and FUN
World Without Oil asked one relatively simple act of its players: to get "in game" - to imagine that the oil crisis story was real. The game rewarded those who got in game, and the effect of more and more players getting in game tended to draw in more players and draw existing players deeper and deeper into the game. The effect is like that of being immersed in a good book - but one that you are actually helping to write. The result is an experience that many players and observers found to be both deeply satisfying and profoundly moving.