Evoke: The online game to empower Africa
Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 3, 2010) marks the start of the weekly reality-online game “Evoke“. Created by Jane McGonigal, the hybrid of real-life meets online world seeks to have people partake in beneficial activities in order to earn various prizes and commendations. The ultimate goals are 1) to make people, most notably Africans, realize that they can make a difference in the world and 2) to alleviate some of the common problems (environmental, etc.) that societies face. The structure of the game is simple:
- Register online
- Receive an “Urgent Evoke” message every Wednesday
- Take some documented form of real action to address the message within 10 weeks
- Earns points by completing weekly tasks and receiving praise from other users
- Players with the most points at the end of the game may receive internships, mentorships, scholarships and grants (the World Bank spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the game)
Only time will tell how many Africans sign up for, and more importantly, participate in Evoke. Will an alternative reality really help promote the common good? Will limited Internet access turn potential players away? No matter what happens, real world benefits from a computer game are a step in the right direction. The creators deserve praise for merging social network with game with reality. No longer will online games be self-indulgent. Instead, they will be outwardly inspiring.