Friday, May 04, 2007

World Without Oil

Jane McGonigal, of I Love Bees fame, sent this email today:

I have some exciting news:

Earlier this week, World Without Oil launched. It’s the first alternate reality game to address a real-world problem: oil dependency. The official motto: “Play it – before you live it.” And you can play right now!

It takes literally less than 30 seconds to sign up as a game hero. I hope you’ll go sign up right now! Here’s the link:

(Signing up just gives you a unique identity in the alternate reality. It means the game will know who you are if you come back and play. Unlike other ARGs, the game won’t start emailing you or burying things in your backyard.)

Once you’re signed up, there’s lots of fun stuff to check out. The game launched on Monday, and already there are hundreds of player created documents to browse—-not to mention the official “backstory” created by the game’s puppet masters. The latest game updates include video footage of an underground car vandalism effort, instructions for how to throw fuel-free parties, and an eyebrow-raising transcript of the new secretary of state’s address to the nation.

But most importantly – please take 1 minute today to sign up to play and help make this experimental game project a success!

More information about the project below; email me if you want to hear more. J


Jane McGonigal
Resident Game Designer, Institute for the Future

The game is being heralded as the first alternate reality game to deal with a major social issue, allowing people to experiment/simulate/fantasize about how the West would/will deal with a worldwide oil shortage. Here's the description from the news release:

Beginning April 30, the nerve center for the realistic oil crisis is at, with links to citizen stories in blogs, videos, photos, audio and phone messages posted all over the Internet. At the grassroots website, people will learn the broad brushstrokes of the crisis, such as the current price of a gallon of gas or how widespread shortages are. Players will fill in the details, by creating Web documents that express their own perspectives from within the crisis.

“The ‘alternate reality’ of WORLD WITHOUT OIL is not fantasy, it’s a very real possibility,” says Writerguy Creative Director Ken Eklund. “And the game challenge is one of imagination. No one person or small group can hope to figure out the complex rippling effects of an oil shock, but the collective imagination can. And understanding it is a serious, positive step toward preventing it.”

Here are some pages/projects/playspaces that have already formed around the game:
Official game blog:
Player wiki:
Player Forum:
MySpace page:
Teaching Tools:

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