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.)