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Old February 2 2011, 07:20 PM   #1
Dusty Ayres
Location: ANS Yamato, Sector 5, Sol System
Gaming the system

Can video games change the world for the better? This article confirms it so:

Last year, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Community Foundation set out to crowdsource the problem of global warming, offering cash for good ideas at the first Green Innovation Awards. They got 127 proposals for potentially world-transforming technologies and projects from across the city, and chose three winners to split $50,000 in seed funding to get their plans off the ground.

The biggest winner of them all—receiving half the prize money—was a videogame. Robert Kori Golding, who works out of the Centre for Social Innovation building at Spadina and Queen, is building a Facebook and mobile phone application called My Green City, an online game similar to FarmVille: players will create virtual sustainable cities, scoring points on a “carbon credits” system. The selling point is the twist: players will complete real-world green missions—installing energy-efficient light bulbs or attending a farmers’ market, say—in order to earn credits that are tradable inside the game.

Golding was working for a local social game developer when he hatched his idea. “So many of these social gaming companies don’t even make games, they just make psychologically addictive products designed to sell things,” he says. “I really just wanted to find a way of using those game mechanics to engineer positive behaviour in the real world.” In countless traditional videogames over the years, players have scored points by saving the imaginary world from alien invasions or armies of zombies. My Green City’s twist is to get them hooked on scoring points by facing down more pressing meatspace threats.
Gaming the system
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