EVOKE: A Ten Week Crash Course In Changing the World

I remember reading once that video games were training the next generation of the world's jet fighter pilots. Not being much into jet fighters, I wasn't too impressed.

The idea that video games can teach real world skills finds a more interesting (and less lethal) manifestation in Evoke, a new massively multi-player on-line game that went live last night. The game is part graphic novel, part primer on real-world development challenges, and part brainstorming, networking and mentorship program.

Their tagline is: "Evoke: A Ten Week Crash Course In Changing the World." The aim: to motivate people to identify, understand and help solve the problems that they see around them.

I love the slightly dark quality of the illustrations, and the captivating mix of fact and fiction that structures the game play.


The game was designed by the World Bank as a way of encouraging a new generation of creative development problem solvers. The Bank calls them "social innovators." Interestingly, beyond the game play, ambitious players are invited to propose real-world projects and can get partnered up with mentors to help them along the way.

The game is primarily targeting an African audience, but it's open to all. It can be played on a variety of bandwidths, and even via SMS (but only in South Africa for now).

You can read an interview with Jane McGonigal, the game's creator over at WorldChanging. I'm really fascinated by the possibility of games as a way for people to imagine and create better futures. I'll be playing along -- at least for a little while -- so perhaps I'll see you in there.
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From the EVOKE page:
EVOKE is a ten-week crash course in changing the world.

It is free to play and open to anyone, anywhere.

The goal of the social network game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.

The game begins on March 3, 2010. Players can join the game at any time.
And here is the rest of it.

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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

Info on my consulting work, c.v. and current research focus is all here.


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