Evoke inquiries

Discussion
Mar 26, 2010
by: achan

A few weeks ago, I became an agent in a global network of social innovators. Urgent EVOKE: A Crash Course in Saving the World opened on March 3, 2010. It’s a game, a social experience, a learning experience, and a awareness all in one. It was designed and is directed by Jane McGonigal for the World Bank Institute.

My first impression

EVOKE has been open four weeks and already has more than 13,787 members. The game will last for about 10 weeks, concluding on May 12,2010, with a new quest and a new mission unlocked each week. In the first mission agents were asked to describe ourselves 10 years later, in the year 2020. The imagine part of the mission is more enjoyable than the rest because I get to make up things, work for my dream job, arrange my life the way I would want it to and basically playing the creator of my life.

The first thing I looked at was this 90-second EVOKE trailer which I found interesting. It's a game where you challenge yourself to change the world. In the video, I caught a glimpse of the year 2020. It's a "game that will teach you, knowledge of networks, sustainability, spark, courage, entrepreneurship" etc. The masked guy talking with his air in midair was alchemy. He's persuading us to play the game to help change the world and anyone else in need. It's like a secret team that helps the world. The last quote was "If you have a problem and can't solve it, evoke it" I forgot what it reminds me of. But this line really seems like a rescue team under cover, saving the day. "You're certain they exist? Because we need real help, not fairy tales..."

I like the way the story is presented, because it's very detailed. We just finished reading a short comic strip from EVOKE. In episode one, Japan is in a tight spot because they're almost out of food. In this urgent situation, Japan called for help. The team EVOKE, that works undercover, helps them out. Japan gets all the credit but EVOKE takes 50% of the profit.

One line from EVOKE that stands out for me is "Officially, we don't exist". I like the idea that they're working undercover. All their actions are hush hush. The society doesn't know about them and whatever rumors that are circulating around them makes people skeptical.

Another line that I liked was "Mr. Governor, we don't waste time. My team is already there". Everything was done within a short period. To think that they're unknown.. it's impossible to work undercover. But I guess they have a big supporter backing them up. They have high technology, all the tools they need, and word gets around fast. It's surprising to me that their team is so small.

In the second comic strip, Ember, Eureka, and Quinn marked their territory after a task is complete. Ember was in charge of planting trees that look like the word "EVOKE" on top of every building. Quinn planted new trees in the park. And Eureka was at the harbor. EVOKE's and the Governor's joined forces saved the food crisis in Japan. In the last strip, someone secretly took a snapshot of one of the EVOKE members. Behind the stalker looking guy, there's a poster up, saying REWARD for information on unusual actives.

The EVOKE agents are really clever. In order to generate energy for villages that are low on power, they set up three different sources. The first one is Eureka and one of the villages, building a number of windmills on the hills. Second, Quinn has set up solar balloons. Third is Ember who is keeping an eye on a popular dance club. In the club, the dancers generate energy every night. Pretty smart if you think about it. Without getting noticed, they do what they have to. It also includes citizens who help out while being clueless.

It's also the first time one of the agents failing to do their work. But it shows that hardwork will pay off eventually. Eureka managed to inspire a little girl. There's a man who also an infiltrator who hacked into the conversation Alchemy was having with Eureka. He's a reporter but he seems harmless. He's just curious about EVOKE, the way they do things, and why.

Looking at the game in depth

Each week, we are asked to read the comic strip and write a response about it on Youth Voices. Then we have to start a foundation with the quest. We start thinking up ideas and then with the missions, we elaborate. My favorite quest so far was the first and third one. This quest was fun to do, because there was no limitation on what I can imagine. On the surface, this quest was to brainstorm ways to help the society.

Each week's mission has three parts, a "learn" portion, an "act" portion and an "imagine" portion, and so far I'm enjoying the imagine ones the most because After completing the learn and act, which builds up ideas while finishing it, I get these great ideas to help the world. My best mission so far has been the first week, the one about social innovation and understanding their minds and how they get the job done.

The "learn" part of this mission was to pick my favorite secret that can help a social innovator. As you can see in my blog post for this part of the mission, I learned many important rules in being a social innovator and it's crucial that you don't do something stupid. For example, "what you have matters more than what you lack", I find it very true. It's better to work with what you have. If you lack something, use the things around you to build what you want.

The “act” part was to read all the blogs and pick a social innovator that you would look up to. Again, please take a look at my blog post. For this challenge I picked a social innovator that stood out most to me. And I chose Gregorie Perez because he is striving to change the world for the better.

For “imagine” we were asked to imagine ourselves in the future. How our lifestyle is and what we've accomplished. Now take a look at my story for this task. What I like most about what I put up was I imagined the best case scenario but at the same time, it's what I really strive for. This made me think about my actual future and what I want to become when I get older.

My Opinion

When I first started playing Evoke, I thought it was mediocre. Nothing stood out for me. But after playing it and understanding it a little more, I like how it informs the students about news around the world but at the same time, making it fun and enjoyable. Now, I'm wondering how far this game will get. We already have about 13,000 players. Will it expand even more? And what about after the game comes to an end. Will that be the end of it? Will they start another cycle? I also have the most random question ever. I wonder who's the one drawing the comic The most interesting part of the game is being able to meet new people and share our thoughts.

Some have even wondered if Evoke is a game. I think it's more like a very educational game. And we all know that when the word educational is in front of any word, it's usually boring. But nonetheless, no matter how you see it, it's still a game. People are just use to games where we control animals or humans. We watched a TED video in which Jane Mcgonigal explains these types of games, and I'm thinking now that EVOKE might not be as bad and boring as everyone thinks. The learning portion is very informative and the acting portion is a way to see how you would react to what you just read.. to see what YOU would do to fix things.

I am looking forward to the next episodes of Evoke, because it's fun to read the comic strips.

 

Comments

Hi Rea! :D I just finished

helen.peng's picture
Submitted by helen.peng on Wed, 2010-04-07 08:53.

Hi Rea! :D

I just finished reading your post. And one sentence that caught my eye was: I like the way the story is presented, because it's very detailed.I have to disagree with you on this statement because I feel the opposite to what you said. I think that the stories are presented with very few details. I feel like the weekly comics try to hard to portray a certain situation, and it ends up becoming a little confusing.

You also reminded me of something inside the comics when you said, "In the second comic strip, Ember, Eureka, and Quinn marked their territory after a task is complete." I noticed this too :)

-Helen(: