WORLD WITHOUT OIL is a award winning, serious game for the public good. WWO invited people from all walks of life to contribute “collective imagination” to confront a real-world issue: the risk our unbridled thirst for oil poses to our economy, climate and quality of life.
WORLD WITHOUT OIL is a milestone in the quest to use games as democratic, collaborative platforms for exploring possible futures and sparking future-changing action.
WWO is a model for using a hot net-native storytelling method (‘alternate reality’) to meet civic and educational goals and be compellingly fun.
CONTEXT FOR USE
WORLD WITHOUT OIL is a very simple "what if?" game. What if there was an oil crisis? This gaming resource can be used as tool for critical thinking skills and collaborative problem solving, using real life situations.
What if an oil crisis started on April 30, 2007 - what would happen? How would the lives of ordinary people change?
Let's play "what if?" and find out. To play, you help visualize what would be happening, if the oil crisis were really going on.
ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION AND TEACHING MATERIALS
Because an oil crisis has deep and subtle effects, we asked everyone to help us imagine what an oil crisis would really be like. That's how people played the game - first they read the official news and what other players were saying. Then they told the story of how a shortfall of oil was affecting their own lives, and what they were doing to cope. (They're the experts on this subject.)
And then, as the crisis continued, they updated us with further thoughts, reactions and solutions. People told their stories online, in blogs, videos, images – even emails and voicemails. WWO linked to what they had created.
People could use whatever communication method they were comfortable with. They told WWO where the story was, and the people at WWO looked at the story and created a link to it on the WWO site. The best stories appear at the top of each week's group of story links.
As the stories accumulate, they gather power and veracity WWO benefited from "the wisdom of crowds" - as more and more people examine a subject, they tend to cause more truthful and insightful ideas to rise to the top. Plus the multiplicity of viewpoints tends to reveal aspects to the subject that even experts might overlook.
What was the result? Over 1900 people signed up as players of World Without Oil, and submitted over 1500 stories from inside the "global oil crisis of 2007." Their work comprises a rich, complex, and eerily plausible collective imagining of such an event, complete with practical courses of action to help prevent such an event from actually happening.
For these people and over 60,000 active observers, the process of collectively imagining and collaboratively chronicling the oil shock brought strong insight about oil dependency and energy policy. More than mere "raising awareness," WWO made the issues real, and this in turn led to real engagement and real change in people's lives. The game ended after 32 days, on June 1, 2007.
Since then, the site has averaged over 6000 unique visitors a month, and continues to generate press and comment worldwide. Now that it's over, how can I experience the World Without Oil? Our archive has preserved each home page as it appeared during the 32 weeks of the oil crisis simulation.
Begin game >> WORLD WITHOUT OIL
Lesson Plans >> WORLD WITHOUT OIL
You can get into the game and use the WWO "Time Machine" to call up any of these weeks. The official story for that week will be headlined in the upper center right; the stack of blocks to the left, under the dark blue panel, link to the player stories for that week. (The stories that the WWO team judged to be best will be at the top of the stack.)
Clicking on a story block will take you to that story, usually posted by the player somewhere on the web. You can also take Gretchen's quick tour, to experience the game as a typical player did. Home :: World Without Oil
To be determined by the educator and how they choose to use this resource.
WWO didn’t only “raise awareness”about oil dependence. By creating a simple nonpartisan framework that focused thousands of people from all walks of life upon this common issue, WWO sparked peer learning and inquiry-based exploration of the roots, outcomes, and prevention of an oil crisis. By “rousing our democratic imagination,” WWO fostered deep engagement and changed people’s lives. Via a game, players made themselves better citizens.
“Act as if. Live it. Weave us into a possible future.” - EVELYN RODRIGUEZ - CROSSROADS DISPATCHES