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.