Whenever I talk with people about Virtual Peace, a 2008 DML Competition winner, two things tend to happen. First, for those who are new to the possibilities of digital media and learning, it changes their conceptions of gaming. And second, Virtual Peace provides a powerful scenario (coordinating international humanitarian assistance during a natural disaster) for which digital media is arguably the most ideal way to learn.
Building on the success of Virtual Peace, Tim Lenior and his collaborators have begun developing a "new game that supports collaborative work toward real-world problems using a new transmedia format." Emergence, as the new game is called, encouraged Tim and a team of collaborators to launch a new Humanities Lab at Duke's Franklin Humanities Institute (similar to the Duke Haiti Lab).
Here's a small snapshot of what's to come from the team:
"Greater Than Games aims to build a game platform that brings together virtual and real world components, is adaptable over a range of networked and programmable devices including desktop computers as well as iPhones, iPads, etc., and develops rich narrative content that emerges interactively with player collaborations and choices. The goal is to use the combined allure of game play, virtual architecture and design, and digital storytelling to intervene constructively in real world problems. Three teams will closely collaborate to achieve this goal drawing upon faculty from Literature, English, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, ISIS, Classics, and Computer Science."
"Our projects will develop a new genre of games, called transmedia games particularly suited to promoting community building and social cooperation in the service of our vision: game design as social activism. Transmedia games are collaborative interactive experiences that use the real world as a platform. Sometimes referred to as alternate reality games (ARGs), they blur the lines between games and reality by incorporating a wide breadth of everyday media types, including laptops, smart phones, various types of social media, and location- based media. In transmedia games, players interact directly with characters in the game, solve plot- based challenges and puzzles to advance the narrative, and build a community to coordinate real-life and online activities."
We'll have to have Tim and his crew back to talk about the project. For those who are interested in learning more about Virtual Peace, visit them at http://www.virtualpeace.org. Or read about them here on their HASTAC page.
Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase features Where Are They Now? updates on the 2008, 2009, and 2010 winners. The 2010 DML Competition winners will showcase their projects at the Designing Learning Futures DML Conference on March 4, 2011 in Long Beach, California.
Visit our DML Countdown page to view more updates from featured projects.