I’d like to see a game in which people who have lost things — keys, wallet, pet dog — have them returned. The game could come with incentives for people who find and return lost things to their rightful owners. The game would rely on people who have lost things submitting a “lost item” report to the game designers, as well as people actually looking for the items.
The game itself would exist online, with “lost item” reports and “found item” reports being documented there. I would require the person who declared an item missing also to be the person who declares an item found and returned. I would need some sort of verification process to ensure there’s no collusion among players, who could intentionally misplace items for their friends to find and then cash in. The “lost item” reports could include detailed descriptions of the items and where they might have been lost, which would allow item-seekers to narrow their search. Another problem is ensuring item-seekers don’t just visit the website, learn of lost items, and then go find the items to keep themselves.
The game would never end, or would never start. Its arc is completely reliant on people misplacing things. In a perfect world, there would never be any lost items, and the game wouldn’t exist. Players would be expected to submit “lost item” reports, and those players who look for items would be expected to return them if found. There could be a forum online in which players discuss their experiences concerning the game. Maybe the game could run on a point system. I could have an online store in which players could spend their points on items they hopefully won’t turn around and lose. But if they do lose them, there’s a game that helps with that.
“Ghosts of a Chance” sounds a little more stimulating than “World Without Oil.” The concept of “Ghosts of a Chance” — hauntings at a museum — certainly is more attention-grabbing than an oil shortage. What does that say about our priorities? The biggest issue I see with “Ghosts of a Chance” is its accessibility, or lack thereof.
It’s a creative and engaging idea, and I like that museum-goers can play the game during an afternoon visit. From the museum’s standpoint, it’s a profitable idea. The game creates new ways in which visitors can see paintings and engage with their surroundings. It also encourages teamwork, as some clues — those that are coded, for example — might only be accessible by a small number of people.
That’s also the major drawback of the game in my view: a lack of accessibility. Some people like to play games alone, whether it’s because they’re shy or enjoy a challenge. If some clues are hidden in computer coding, foreign languages or complex riddles, a singular player’s ability to complete the game is diminished considerably. So, the game essentially forces players to work with one another, which could be a turnoff for some.
I don’t exactly know what to make of “World Without Oil.” I think the designers’ intentions are in a good place; making consumers think critically and with an eye for solutions when it comes to our dependence on oil is a novel idea. I just don’t know how many people would be interested in playing. I don’t really play video games. I know I wouldn’t play it, regardless of its merits and problem-solving potential.
I think the idea is compelling for a few reasons. First, it plays off a contemporary issue with which almost everyone is familiar. Second, it lets players dictate the story through their posts, as opposed to players working toward a ready-made, predetermined outcome. Third, it’s a sort of practice field on which players and researchers can consider a fake problem before it becomes a real one.
On the other hand, I suspect interest in the game and similar games might not be strong. First, it only lasted for about a month, which doesn’t allow much time for players to recruit their friends, or for players to grow accustomed to the game. Second, the game is somewhat of a downer; people might not want to think about a potential oil crisis. Third, documentation and record-keeping isn’t exactly exhilarating.
I gave this story a close read and still don’t completely understand the premise of the game and its new feature. I don’t really play video games and have never heard of “Ingress.” If seven million people have downloaded the game, though, it must be pretty popular. I don’t think a feature that relies so heavily on players to generate “content” would work for a less popular game.
While I can’t exactly picture how players will execute this new feature, I think it’s nice the designers are encouraging players to explore the real world. Too many games disconnect players from reality and the world around them. It’s nice if this game is attempting to remake those connections. I imagine it would be good exercise, as well.
It’s interesting to learn sometimes how many historical sites, notable landmarks and intriguing spots are situated so close to our homes without us knowing. This feature seems to encourage people to make those discoveries. I do worry, though, about people walking around town with their eyes glued to the game on their phone. That’s dangerous.