Monday, March 4, 2013

Games People Play

Ahhh...the Alan Parsons Project.  This song brought back a few memories this afternoon!  Here is the link for those who can't see the embed.

So, we are relaunching the Association Forecast Show this week with a new producer ( +Melanie Smith ) and our special guest - +Justin Lewis .  Join us on Thursday, March 7 at 2:15 PM Pacific time as we take on the concept of gaming and how we can use games to create a better world and better membership experiences.

I get a lot of questions on this topic, and I know people are wondering about my obsession with games in general.  Gaming isn't a fad.  Yes, it's trending right now in a lot of social media, but the ideas behind gaming dynamics and techniques are as old as human civilization itself.  As soon as we figured out how to carve a cube, we put dots and squiggles on it and started beating our neighbors for fun (and maybe profit).

What's new now is a landscape that has been radically changed by the advent of gaming consoles and the Internet.  Here are just three very contemporary examples of how games are being used for entirely new purposes to do great things.

Half the Sky - Games for Change is promoting a new Facebook game that they rolled out today based on the book - Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  I played it for a while today and it was pretty fun.  In addition to the simple scenarios it presents, you have the opportunity to earn points that can unlock actual charity gifts for people.  You are also occasionally given the opportunity to donate to non-profits straight from within the game using your cell phone.  Here's a game trailer.

Here is a link to the Half the Sky Game Trailer if you can't see the video embed.

US Navy and MMOWGLI - The United States Navy, in joint partnership with the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Postgraduate School and our fine, fantastic friends at Institute for the Future have come up with a new online game known as "Massive Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet" or MMOWGLI.  This game is intended to run scenarios and solicit input from players on some of the Navy's most pressing challenges and tactical nightmares.  You can read more in this article from "Armed With Science" blog.  And just in case you don't get how players can be attracted into games like this - look at the nightmare scenario video they cooked up to get players involved.  Yeah.  Sleep tight.

Link to MMOWGLI video if you can't see the embed.

Omni VR Virtual Rehabilitation System - Medical practitioners and physical therapists are finding new and better ways to get people interested in pursuing their own mental and physical recovery from illness and accident.  This article from the Columbus Telegram reviews the new and engaging uses for this system. It's similar to Wii or Microsoft's Kinect but it's specially designed to meet the needs of patients. In the Golden Living Center patients can actually play together, which creates opportunities for group therapy and recovery as well as social interaction.  Seriously, your grandma may be playing games sooner than you if you don't get with it.

Link to OmniVR Video if you can't see the embed.

So, yeah....we've got a bright future ahead of us.  People are playing games for all sorts of good reasons and the games are only getting better.....I say spend less time trying to downsize your board, and more time learning about things that will make a real difference in the lives of your members.  No, you might not know exactly how to make it happen, but if you don't start thinking about what these opportunities might look like, you might not recognize them when you see them.

I'm promising you the Moon and the Stars, do you believe it?  (Thanks Alan Parsons for the good times).


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