'Reality' Guru Not Just Playing Games

How simulating crises online could avert them on the ground
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2007 8:50 AM CDT
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – News junkies may have missed the oil crisis that pushed gas prices beyond $7 and brought the US economy to a standstill. But nearly 2,000 alternative reality gamers  playing "World Without Oil" online lived every moment, reports Salon in a look at real-world uses of Alternative Reality Games and the genre's social mastermind, Jane McGonigal.

The role-playing and decisions suggest disasters, identify trends, and can even be used for marketing, though the oil game was intended to help people deal with a not-so-unlikely disaster. McGonigal boasts that the game even induced gamers to change real-life behaviors to reduce oil dependence. (Read more Jane McGonigal stories.)