Evoke Home About Evoke How To Play Powers My Profile EVOKEblog Missions Quests Evidence Agents Leaders Discuss Reserve Your Spot

EVOKE was developed by the World Bank Institute, the learning and knowledge arm of the World Bank Group, and directed by alternate reality game master Jane McGonigal.

One Game May Hide Another

Posted by Calida DeBello on 18 Mar under People and Ideas

Kenneth Koch saw a sign in Kenya at a rail crossing: “Warning: One Train May Hide Another.” He wrote a poem about it, and mentioned many of the occasions when you focus on one thing and thus are oblivious to the larger thing bearing down on you.

We have an example of that this week. For one player at least, one game has hidden another – a focus on points blinding him to what the EVOKE gameplay is truly about.

It would be easy to punish occurrences like this (and indeed an adjustment will be made). But that is not the direction I hope we (meaning all of us) will go. Because I don’t think anyone fully understands what the EVOKE Network is and how it will go. No one’s play is perfect, nor need it be. If we award points, it’s for something we sense is worthy. If we delete points from a player, I would like it to be so he can earn them again in a way that his fellow players will deem worthy also.

Agent Jen Shaffer’s thoughtful post about conflict has generated a great discussion about the clash of these two games – be sure to read the varying points of view in the comments. And be happy – for this too shall pass.  – Calida

5 Responses to “One Game May Hide Another”

  1. André

    “We have an example of that this week. For one player at least, one game has hidden another – a focus on points blinding him to what the EVOKE gameplay is truly about”

    That´s right: EVOKE is more than our regular “earning points game”. @the same time EVOKE is embedded into a Game context which means, some players will test the boundaries – cheating opportunities, etc.

    In the diversity of our player profiles we might have people enjoying a collaborative social innovation network – spiced with some Game mechanics and we might have Gamers enjoying and expecting a Game with a Social Innovation story plot. The latter might have a higher focus on points and achievements which should be honored, too. During Game play in the context of their regular game experiences they might discover what EVOKE is truly about over time – as we all do.

  2. Lynneth

    It’s a tricky one, and about people’s expectations. You are right, andre, that gameplayers needs should be honoured as well. afterall, this is being billed as a GAME, but the real life inputs more into this being a massive forum discussion about global problems.

    If it was my game, I’d have an alternate reality set up to be a parallell universe…it would be more gameish, and still fundamentally address things in RL.

    Taking the game to an imaginative context would make people think outside the box more – at the moment, people are coming up with established ideas, because that’s what we are ‘programmed’ to think like….

  3. Ken Eklund

    EVOKE is first and foremost a place for learning; that is the context in which its game components operate. Cheating at EVOKE is just like cheating at school: “you’re only hurting yourself,” as teachers everywhere never tire of saying. That’s especially true in EVOKE; the grand prize is the awards, scholarships and mentorships of the EVOKATION, and people who abuse the system will not be receiving those, no matter how many points they acquire. That’s what Calida meant by “one game may hide another.” Some people think the win is with points, but it is not. Empty points count against players, not for them.

    Every moment the gamerunners spend chasing after people who are making no useful contribution to the EVOKE Network is a moment they are not able to respond to people who genuinely care about EVOKE’s goals.

    But because EVOKE is an educational experience, this sort of problem is to be expected. People are playing who are new to online networks, and that’s good. Their challenge is to learn how to navigate them quickly, and I am hopeful they will do well at this challenge.

  4. Jeremy

    Hunger for points is at the core of the online gamer’s motivation. If the thesis behind Evoke really is correct, then the hunger for points and the engagement with RL must be synthesized;

    IE let it not appear, even in tone, that the points are there to placate the gamers while the real work is being done by the non-gamers via the almost-normal mode of forum discussion.

  5. Vox Pop Design – UrgentEvoke, Week Three: Energy

    [...] that would be nearly impossible if done by hand. Evoke administrators briefly (and, vaguely) alluded to this incident and the instigator has since stopped. However, I expect more ‘network effects’ to occur [...]

Leave a Reply