Thursday, November 16, 2006

Very Serious Games

As reported on Slashdot, Google Earth is being used by Indians (in this case, natives from South America, not India) to monitor and protect Amazon (in this case, the forest, not the bookstore)

...In Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology to conserve forests and maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions. Indians use Google Earth to remotely monitor their lands by checking for signs of miners and GPS to map their lands.


I´ve posted before about Google Earth, which I find an excellent product for many reasons, such as the fact it "[blurs] the line between the application it is and the game or toy it is used as". After reading the news above, I wonder if applications like this could turn environmental challenges into collective games that culminate in real problems being issued and possible solutions being presented by its players - who would actually discover the challenges themselves.

Since we live in a big planet, this game could have exploration and housekeeping elements (to borrow some terms from the book 21st Century Game Design).

  • Original Slashdot post
  • Google Earth
  • My previous post on Google Earth
  • 21st Century Game Design book

    Patrick said...

    I find it interesting that a culture that eats the meat of paralyzed monkeys uses a Google app to protect their wider domain. Its a magical time we live in, or strange anyway.

    Chico Queiroz said...

    I agree that we live in magical/strange times, but I know some vegeterians who would argue that eating the meat of paralyzed monkeys (I didn´t know about that, actually) is not too far away from our regular hot dog...

    But anyway, I get your point: it´s weird how this kind of technology is used by groups you wouldn´t suspect at first.

    Copyright, Chico Queiroz