GameSave Might Just Save Your Life
Videogames are entertaining and make for great stress relievers, but if Seattle's GameSave event goes as planned, they might also save lives.
Remember that huge earthquake that struck Japan in March? The devastation and loss of human life was on a scale normally reserved for war zones, owing primarily to the fact that a quake of that size was borderline unimaginable to the vast majority of its victims. Despite all our modern science and technology, humans panic when the very ground under our feet rebels against us.
That's why it's crucial that communities be educated on what to do in the event of a disaster prior to it actually occurring. Enter: GameSave, a Seattle-based gathering of developers, hackers and emergency response personnel with the goal of creating games that can teach people disaster relief techniques that may save lives in the event of a cataclysmic emergency.
The idea is the brainchild of Gameranx lead editor Annie Dennisdóttir Wright and Willow Brugh, an employee of Geeks Without Bounds, a "not-for-profit alliance of hackers, coders and geeks united by the common goal of assisting communities in distress." During a recent discussion of the "games can be more than just entertainment" ideals espoused by gamification advocate Jane McGonigal, the two ladies wondered how games might be put to use in helping victims like those they'd seen in the recent Pacific Rim earthquakes.
Initially Wright and Brugh envisioned the creation of a single game, but quickly realized that the competitive spirit of multiple development groups could be leveraged toward making multiple games each covering multiple aspects of the project's potentially life-saving educational material. Thus the GameSave concept was born as a traditional five-week "hack-a-thon," gathering teams of developers to hack together the most useful software possible.
It remains to be seen if GameSave will actually achieve its lofty goals when the event kicks off in late June, but if the optimistic support the project has already attracted (including praise from White House tech guru Thomas Kalil) is any indication, this is definitely a project to keep an eye on.
If you're interested in learning more about GameSave, or would like to actually enter the hack-a-thon yourself, you can find full details at the event's official website.
Source: GameSave, via The Atlantic
See, I don't think it would be particularly hard to make a decent survival game (ala Early Minecraft and LOST), that also happened to teach people the (knowledge) basics of... uh... survival, while still having fun gameplay and a good story.
I worry that this is going to end up producing the equivalent of an interactive instructional video. Like Kinect Dance Studio only with the proper positioning of yourself during a tornado. I can't see myself playing it, but maybe other people would? I dunno.
As long as it emphasizes gameplay (fun) and knowledge equally this sounds like a great idea.
I don't this will work too well.
But, I know what I want to play suddenly...
Survival Kids on the Game Boy.
Or the Lost in Blue DS games.
And still we forget about Libya, Syria, and the entire hell in the Niger Delta.
Japan IS worthy cause, but I'd say they are a nation that can handle this calamity. The other needy places? Not so much.
I give this a fair chunk of time before companies start popularizing and fictionalizing the concepts back to the degree of 'Duck and Cover.'
Correction: The fact that the earthquake itself had such a staggeringly low body-count ( 300 or so) contrast to the strength of it is a testament to how prepared Japan's major cities are for such events. What really scared us is how unrelenting the tsunamis were: Entire cities were washed away like a puddle of spilled milk. THAT was the real meat of the tragedy.
AYB: Declared dead everyday, keeps on coming back.
OT: A tsunami game could be very interesting. First you evade it, then you assist others. Extra points if it's an MMO so the crowding and competition problems get recreated accurately. Different locales make for different difficulty settings. I'd try it. Actually, could probably make one game for many different kinds of disasters.
You only get one life!
But think, when they invent save spheres/crystals/whatever, gamers will be in the best position because we are used to the repercussions of forgetting to save (can you imagine life having an auto-save? Though I will be honest, I haven't given the idea of death-time-travel much thought, so I'll have to think about how it would work for a bit).
So would this be like America's Army's first aid training?
They tried a similar idea with making a game focused on Environmental issues: http://www.saveearthgame.org/ The event was poorly organized and I don't know if any games were actually produced for it. I participated in the first half, but didn't want waste my time generating code for people who couldn't bother to update a web site.
Perhaps this group will be different but I doubt it. It is easy to come up with the idea for a game making event. However seeing it though to completion is beyond the organizational skills of many.
just make ubisoft release i am alive