Recently I’ve taken an interest in turning real world actions into gameplay, using MyBO as an example. While other games we’ve discussed have focused on “moral learning,” this class of games instead aims to shape or nudge behavior through game-like features.
Well, I’m now working on one such game that would support civic activism, particularly on location-based issues. It emerged out of a campaign to turn Boston into a “Fair Trade City” by convincing local stores and institutions to offer Fair Trade products like coffee, chocolate, and bananas. Because the campaign uses teams to build public support and to persuade stores, it seemed natural to frame the campaign as a game in which the rules scaffold valuable actions. For example, teams win points for identifying stores that already carry Fair Trade and for persuading new stores; however, it costs points to “claim” a store for persuasion, which they can also accumulate by signing on supporters. (Essentially, we want to model the idea of gathering up enough supporters to “attack”
Despite the fact that the software is only 40% complete, participants seem really motivated by it. We’re now seeking funding to launch the project, and would really appreciate any suggestions or feedback you might have on the concept. Our Knight Foundation application is publicly available for comment, and it can use your ideas. Or feel free to contact me directly. I’ll try to post more about the game design and how it intertwines with the real-world goals of the campaign.