I have mentioned Jane McGonigal a number of times on Library Bazaar and last night I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto as part of the promotional tour for her new book Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (expect a review here soon). During her talk she mentioned a number of games or applications of game mechanics that illustrate how games can be used to bring about real world positive change. They are worth having a look at and perhaps thinking about how libraries could use similar approaches to engaging our users.
1) EteRNA (Science)
The video game, called EteRNA, was designed by scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Carnegie Mellon University. EteRNA taps gamers’ skills to accelerate biochemists’ understanding of DNA’s once-unsung chemical cousin, RNA. Gamers — no experience is necessary — design molecules composed of RNA, which is now “the emerging superstar in the field of biochemistry,” according to Rhiju Das, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry at Stanford.
2) Groundcrew (Community)
Using our web interface, worthy projects, organizations, and businesses can build “squads” of real-world helpers/participants. Organizers can view data from their squad in real-time, using text messaging and GPS; they can see who’s available at any moment; and they can give assignments, either mass assignments or systems of individual assignments, to help people work together.
3) Nike+ (Health)
This year Nike is bringing you a whole new batch of Nike+ Challenges to keep your miles up and your motivation sky high! Keep an eye out for a new Featured Challenge from Nike on the first day of every month, and join up for your chance to score some of the latest Nike Running gear.
Wildcard) Find the Future: The Game (Libraries)
On May 20, 2011, a very big game with the New York Public Library will launch. It’s called Find the Future: the Game… and if you between the ages of 15 and 29, and are anywhere near New York City, you will want to save the night of May 20 (all night — 8 PM to 6 AM) to have an incredible, once-in-the-lifetime experience.