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James Grimaldi

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A website-based humanitarian L.A.R.P. (live action role playing) game.

Imagine you wake up; eat breakfast; and get ready for work. Now before you walk out the door, you log on to a PC role-playing game to accept a "quest". This quest is worth roughly 150 experience points (Enough to achieve a level-up).

The Quest: Pick up $10 worth of groceries. Deliver the parcel to the nearest food-bank.
Suddenly, there is a community of gamers "Pwning" hunger in cites across the country.
Now imagine your "guild" of players is charged with the quest of mobilizing to help a local community that was recently hit by a natural disaster. Now this is no side quest, so it will be worth major "XP" every gamer in the area is going to want to aid the effort.

Now imagine a child has gone missing. The internet hub will remained updated to any details. Like all quests, players are urged to to what they can....
It sounds ambitious; but these communities of gamers could LARP a major change in cities across the country....potentially across the globe.

The game would be free to play of course...but donations would ensure a player get the best gaming experience possible. Gamers that have acquired sizable amounts of "loot" will have no problem investing their loot towards the bigger picture:
Saving the world one quest at a time.

This idea not only could/should happen, but it needs to happen in some way/shape/form. The amount of effort a gamer will give to complete a goal is insurmountable. When that goal is to help their fellow man; everyone wins this game. Please, any and all input is welcome. My fellow TED-gamers must unite in this first, of many, quest to save the world.

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    Sep 26 2011: James --

    Suggest you add some philosophical tension to the game. That has the gamer having to stop and think "I am really helping here? Or is there something else going on I'm not seeing?" Challenges that weave the gamer into prioritizing via critical thinking and not running off for only superficial "wins." But also for more substantive ones.

    The better and faster his/her ability to deliver the right, fair, ethical constructive and sustainable solution the more points s/he gets.

    Suggest you allow some gamer programming capacities. Allow them to concoct new levels (with your oversight to insure ethics, robustness, etc.) Not allow them to change the entire landscape, but small parts. It will enrich the experience and outcomes for all. And help foment a sense of "we're in this together" as solutions creators, not only solutions deliverers.

    I'd also build in a community point system as adjunct, as well. So gamers can give each other points for good solutions, perhaps. This helps build in more constructive competition. However, you'll have to factor in the contrarian or mischievous sorts, perhaps through minimizing the amount of points that can be given to or by any one individual (similar to TED) or any one solution.

    And, I'd be inclined to avoid the Second Life trap. Scenarios shouldn't be faux. There are too many true ones that need to be addressed. And by addressing real geographies, populations, problems, etc. you are building the gamers real knowledge about his/her world beyond cyberspace. As a bonus the game would be easier to promote and build to and through educators. Who love this sort of thing, if it can fit into curriculums some how.

    Finally: keep your creative freedoms intact. It is easy, as you likely know, to get caught up going down someone else's path. I think you've got solid ideas and a worthy agenda. Work these into an immutable vision for this effort that you can revisit as it grows to keep you oriented.

    Andrea
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      Sep 26 2011: This is beyond insightful, I only wish I had the time to discuss the questions you raise. I will however take in all of these suggestions and let them sink into the picture Ive already developed. I would be grateful if I could consult you in the future.
  • Oct 19 2011: James, fantastic idea. If you're getting bogged down the IT stuff I have a programmer friend, or two, who could possibly help.

    Prehaps to tie in with the idea floated by Michael Clancy, the ability of smart phones to post online the building you are in could help. Allowing your $/£/etc.10 quest for groceries & dropping off at a shelter to be trackable. Much like chain quests in other games. "Go here>talk to NPC>collecct berries for potion>administer potion" could read "Go to shop>buy clothes/food>go to shelter>take picture of smiling recipients>post online"

    I think it is a fantastic idea, would love to hear more. Prehaps you could LinkedIn me, or even set up a LinkedIn group to discuss further. Something you'd agree with Andrea? This would remove the time frame placed on this idea to be discussed here.

    Further to, I agree with Andrea. Grab yourself a patent, it would make your position stronger when looking for investers. I'd be happy to pocket-dip to see such an idea progress into real-world terms.
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    Sep 27 2011: A couple of ideas

    1 - It would have to become popular. Posting videos of the deeds (like planking) and encourage an unwritten rule to up-vote the videos to increase visability. It must become a meme.
    2 - include virtual charity like (my favorites) protein folding, planet hunting and galaxy zoo. We could form groups inside these communities with the Ted name on it (or whatever identity chosen).
    3 - discourage aggressive oneupsmanship. Its good to have competition but we don't want a toxic environment either. This probably won't happen in this community but the wider audience may get out of hand.
    4 - Make it about lots of small acts so people don't get discouraged.

    This is a great idea - I am on board
  • Sep 27 2011: I think it's a interesting idea you've come up with. Nevertheless, imagine that its not a game, but a community you build, where you can promote interaction between compromised and careing people, with those who have a problem beyond their capacity to solve it by themselves. The ludic approach is very interesting, but it would be even more interesting to make it "real". And you can also award those who participate aiding others and accomplishing "missions". The important thing about this I think would be to create a community of comited actors and not so commited that can be guided in their aiding activities, and most important, a community where contact will be made between aiders, those who need help and activists. Once you have this ground, you can propose "missions" and achievement points for the most active members/users.
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    Sep 26 2011: Nice Idea mate!! Looking forward to it!
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    Sep 26 2011: Expanding on this a little further, James, I think your idea could also apply to getting the youth and young adults motivated to do more for themselves without depending on too many outside influences. I could see such a game being applied in a lot of ways, but really it's being rewarded for doing what you should/want to do. I wish the entire world worked that way sometimes.
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      Sep 27 2011: Thank you. The slow but steady acceptance of this idea in Ted has been an indication to me that the best minds are more than willing to work with me on this. Having a member of Ted staff contribute is an honor, as this idea was a bit of a "eureka" moment. If internet communities have showed me anything, its that we the human race have potential to be beautifully compassionate.
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    Sep 26 2011: I dont play games. but it sounds a great idea ! and actually i am thinking how about adding obstacles of different levels to make it more chanllenging?
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    Sep 26 2011: James you are brilliant... I hope you will find a way to rnake this thing in real life. And if you can deal with the IT stuff I will give my best to assist you in scenarios or quests and anything about written stuff...
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      Sep 26 2011: Your feedback and offer are greatly appreciated. My biggest obstacle is the IT stuff, but once I network with the right people this idea is bound to take off.
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    Sep 25 2011: WHAT AN AWESOME IDEA!!!!!!!!

    i no joke would love to see something like this created. if anything add scope and comprehension with real world implications.

    at least if kids could play something like this, where playing this game would help them in the game of life.
    our next generation would have a more clear understanding of how a civilization could run itself.

    my 2cents duno if i helped.
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      Sep 25 2011: Thank you, this gives me hope that this idea can work on at least level.
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    Oct 24 2011: YES. That is one of the most possible ways to increase the usefulness of a game rather than just relying on its functionality. Most people think of games as entertaining tools only without realizing th eimpacts or even the damages of dependent addiction that the games would display. LARP is indeed the solution.

    Well, however, back again to the users, whether they use LARP as a good alternative game or not and make the best of their time usage or not are basically depended on the individuals themselves.

    Check out this link: http://www.radinfographics.com/graphics/funny/farmville-vs-real-farms/
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    Sep 28 2011: Thank you everyone. So far the comments and suggestions have more than I could have hoped for.
    The people you meet in this "game" should become more than just fellow gamers.
    A build-able community is exactly the experience the most active users should experience.
    I would want to implement a chain of moderators for each community. Local members to help run/update their regions homepage on the site.

    Michael; the charities are a must. Any-and-all (legitimate) charities should be considered associates to the website.

    Many things must be considered before this game could take of in the scale I imagine. Will everyone's help, this humanitarian-task-force is in reach.
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    Sep 26 2011: James --

    Suggest you file patents and seek funders, and soon. Excellent idea.

    Andrea
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    Sep 26 2011: Amily: Your contribution brings up a good point. The gamer should be constantly reminded that they are gaming while performing these socially conscious acts. After-all, the target demographic is gamers; and while I don't want it to seem like the "game" is there to make the good deeds worth doing, I do want to reward the gaming community with a fun interactive experience.

    Si: I'm not sure what your angle is. Integration of advance technology is inevitable at this point, but we should keep in mind the natural; non-virtual world.
    Advancements like the ones you used an example are within reach very soon, but only for First-world countries. However, software and the ever-evolving internet can be available to most of the population within a reasonable timeline.
    Interconnected Earth is just a stones throw away and we need be ready to take advantage.
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      Sep 28 2011: sure you dont want make the game experience into "doing good deeds" just because its good or motivate gamers to do something out of "what i think you need to do". I was meaning what engages gamers ,what keeps them constantly chanllenged so that they dont get bored.
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    Sep 26 2011: This is fantasy, I think that some of the software company are trying to make our lives more virtual or let's say a internet-human interacted world.

    Like when you wake up, you can just simply use the wall in you room to read news, emails and other stuffs, cause the whole wall is a kind of screen...