ARGs challenging us to play a better future
Via: Alternate Reality Existence - Ruby's Bequest
Star Spider reports that in the same great tradition of games that seek to bring something more then entertainment, such as World Without Oil and Superstruct from the Institute for the Future, Ruby's Bequest, a new Alternate Reality Game, is set to launch on March 9th.
I fully agree with Star Spider who finds the idea of games that have a social impact to be extremely compelling, giving us hope for a future where people play to be enlightened.
We all worry about our loved ones, and how we can provide the best possible future for them. All of us will become caregivers at some point, and face obstacles to attaining the best possible future for the ones we love. UCP wants to help people find solutions and believes utilizing new media to engage the general population will uncover new ways to shape our structures of caring.
Ruby's Bequest starts in the small Midwestern town of Deepwell, a town that's average in every way. Except that a woman named Ruby has died and left a sizeable estate to the town - if its citizens can dramatically improve how they take care of their own people.
In order to pass the caring tests posed by Ruby's will, the citizens of Deepwell are seeking advice from people all over the world. What are the best ways out there to care for people with Alzheimer's? Or cancer? Or post traumatic stress disorder? How can people prepare to provide better care for their aging parents or grandparents, and how can the aging best manage their own transitions? What collaborations can we devise to counteract declining resources? How might investments today bring about new social structures and new technologies to make caring more efficient and effective? Deepwell's dilemmas make these questions real and personal, and invite everyone to contribute their stories and wisdom toward practical, collaborative solutions.
Although Deepwell seems real, one thing is very different about it: time moves quickly there. When Ruby's will is first read on March 9, 2009, it is already March 9, 2010 in Deepwell. Over the course of five weeks, visitors to Ruby's Bequest.Org will live through the years 2010 to 2016 - gaining a glimpse for themselves of how events already on the horizon will impact the future of caring in America.
Ruby's Bequest thus asks us all to look ahead, both to identify positive trends such as new technologies, and threats such as the decline of Medicare.
As people add their stories and interact with Deepwell's characters (via email, video, and phone), Ruby's Bequest will gather these ideas about "the ecosystems of caring" at one website. And together townspeople and participants will guide the town into the year 2016, forecasting how individual ideas and collaborative solutions work over time to manage the quality of life in Deepwell and the nation as a whole.