What Happens Next is Up to You
As part of a drill, Institute for the Future, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and Art Center College of Design created After Shock—the first Massively Multiplayer Collaboration game focused on a natural disaster. As an alternate reality game, After Shock engaged players around the meta theme of a major earthquake in their city and invited them to respond to the crisis using tools like video, blogs, wikis, twitter, and more to collaborate with their community and find solutions and answers to challenges that help move them forward in the game. The game ran for 3 weeks, starting on November 13, 2008, during which time players regularly received new information and challenges to propel them toward solutions. At it’s culmination, data was collected and analyzed to help us understand how Southern California citizens might respond to this type of disaster as well as their degree of preparedness.
Building on IFTF’s expertise with collaborative forecasting and data from the USGS on natural disasters, After Shock aimed to prepare residents not just for the few moments during a quake, but also for the days and weeks afterward.
As with many IFTF projects, After Shock is a public, online simulation game designed to encourage the literacy of futures thinking in the broader public while also educating players about disaster preparedness. Jason Tester, lead game designer at IFTF, believes that a game setting like this gives people the fullest sense of what a real disaster feels like and encouraging the use of open collaboration tools creates a sense of community that most closely mirrors what life might be like in the real world after an actual quake. After Shock was an attempt to bridge the engagement gap between expert science and real people in an accessible way to help people think critically about the days after an earthquake, and how they can be a grassroots leader in their community. Playing the game was contingent on surviving the theoretical earthquake, but continuing survival depends on smart decisions.
“One of our main goals with this game is to empower and inspire people toward future leadership in a real disaster because they will have had this simulated practice and experience,” said Jason Tester. “Playing the game is contingent on surviving the earthquake, but continuing survival depends on smart decisions.”
USGS and The Great Southern California ShakeOut
After Shock was part of the USGS's The Great Southern California ShakeOut week, of which the Get Ready Rally on Friday, November 14, 2008 in Los Angeles was the culmination. For more information on the rally, visit www.artcenter.edu/getready.