The Institute for the Future once again opens a window into tomorrow’s world, this time letting us peer into 2010 where in the town of Deepwell a woman’s mysterious will has the townsfolk in an uproar. On December 7, 2009, the citizens of Deepwell learned that a woman named Ruby Wood left a “substantial” sum of money to their town, but with one condition – that the townspeople learn to take better care of each other. Who is Ruby Wood? No one in the town seems to know. The town will learn more when the last will and testament of Ruby Wood is opened on March 9, 2010.
In order to get a little outside help and advice on caring, the citizens of Deepwell have launched a website called Ruby’s Bequest, along with a town blog, Deep Into Deepwell, where citizens can discuss the bequest and other town interests. Accusations of being “the town that doesn’t care right” and the tragic death of an elderly citizen have upset many of the townspeople and sparked a debate about caring.
This article is the second in a series, providing summaries of the panel presentations at ARGFest-o-Con 2008 in Boston.
The second panel discussion featured Ken Eklund of World Without Oil as moderator, Brian Clark (GMD Studios), Alice Leung (BBN Technologies), and Dave Szulborski. The panel discussed a little of everything, from projects born from passion to penny-pinching PMs and politics.
Dave Szulborski noted that independent games are the mainstay of the genre, and kept it alive when marketing executives were questioning its effectiveness. He noted that successful games of any type tend to inspire new developers to try their hand in development. Independent ARGs also encourage developers to innovate in new and surprising ways. As Brian Clark noted, “the riskiest things we do are those we do for ourselves,” and grassroots games are the ideal testing grounds for aspiring developers, as long as the project doesn’t serve as a resume of technical development skills that avoids the critical “fun” factor necessary for independent and serious games alike.
Yes, that’s right — World Without Oil, the socially conscious alternate reality game that kicked off in April 2007, has won the Activism award at this year’s SXSW Web Awards!
Although word is just now coming in, and there’s no official note on the SXSW web site, we’re happy to be able to congratulate the team, including our very own Marie Lamb and Michelle Senderhauf!
You may have noticed from the banner at our main site that ARGNet is an Official Media Sponsor of Screenburn 2008. As part of SXSW Interactive‘s series of conferences taking place in Austin, Texas March 7 – March 11, ScreenBurn is bringing in an impressive cast of panelists. Notable speakers include Rachel Clarke (Behind the Buzz), Keith Clarkson (Xenophile Media), Dan Hon (Six to Start), Rebecca Newton (Mind Candy), and Kevin Slavin (area/code). Jane McGonigal (Avant Game) will be presenting the final SXSW Interactive Keynote on March 11th, the final day of the conference.
A few more familiar faces are bound to show up, as World Without Oil, the alternate reality game with a heart of gold, is a finalist for the SXSW Web Awards in the Activism category. The ‘serious game’ attracted a lot of attention for drawing upon the powers of collective intelligence to address peak oil concerns. Numerous ARGNet staffers past and present worked on this project (Dee Cook, Michelle Senderhauf, Marie Lamb, and Krystyn Wells), so our collective fingers are crossed for the team.
Mind Candy, who were at one time a major player in the ARG genre with Perplex City, is also nominated in the Games category for Moshi Monsters.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Voleine Amilcar at ITVS for this update!
(San Francisco—July 12, 2007)—At the end of the 32nd week of the global oil shock, things were looking up. Gasoline prices stabilized in the U.S. – at around $5.60 a gallon, down from a high over $7. Companies were starting to hire again – but more than 2 million people had lost their jobs. Cities were beginning to address more than $1 billion in damage from riots and civil disorder. And in some of the FEMA camps set up outside metro areas, handfuls of people were leaving agricultural work to return home. But among the citizen-journalists chronicling the crisis at www.worldwithoutoil.org, the watchword was caution. “It should be clear of all of us,” warned Blueski, a blogger in America’s heartland, “that this is just a taste of what is to come.”
Produced by the design team at Writerguy, WORLD WITHOUT OIL leveraged the power of people connected by the Internet to imagine the actual events of an oil shortage, document them and innovate solutions. As the event concluded, the grassroots website at www.worldwithoutoil.org had captured a vivid and visceral picture of what our next oil shock might look like, in the form of 1,500 blog pages, videos, images and audio clips documenting the crisis. “We provided the narrative skeleton,” WWO Creative Director Ken Eklund said. “The players fleshed out the story of this alternate reality game.”
After almost two months of anticipation, World Without Oil officially launched today. Announced at ARGFest 07, the game is a “live interactive month-long alternate reality event” that will explore the idea of a worldwide oil shortage. Jane McGonigal (IFTF) and Ken Eklund (writerguy) have led a team of “some of alternate reality gaming’s most experienced puppetmasters” in creating this game, part of the Independent Lens Electric Shadows Web-original programming. With the official launch, the WWO trailhead site has a new look and new features previously not open for the public.
The self-proclaimed grassroots experience bills itself as “an insight into what happens when a great economy built entirely on cheap oil begins to run short,” as it looks at the “impact on people’s lives — work, social, family and personal — and explores what happens when our thirst for oil begins to exceed supply.” It’s not immediately clear as to how the game will take shape, but it seems that player-generated content will be at the heart of the experience, as the game will revolve around “citizen stories in blogs, videos, photos, audio and phone messages posted all over the Internet.”
You can get involved by reading the player wiki, official game blog, and the MySpace blog. You can also register at the trailhead site, and check in with developments at the Unfiction forums.
Source: PR Newswire