Jane McGonigal’s next alternate reality game will give players historical quests in the New York Public Library.
Jane McGonigal is known for her progressive thoughts on videogames and how they can change the world, as detailed in Reality is Broken. One of the methods through which she expresses her views is the alternate reality game, a technique that combines the real world with concepts found in games like quests and rewards. On May 20, 2011, McGonigal will bring a new ARG to the New York Public Library to raise interest in the building’s contents.
For one night only from 8pm to 6am, McGonigal’s Find the Future: The Game will allow 500 players to participate in a “Write All Night” event where they’ll explore the library with laptops and smartphones and answer questions about their experiences. These answers will be included in a book that the NYPL will add to its collection.
Find the Future aims to keep players interested by giving them missions associated with 100 “humanity inspiring” objects found in the NYPL. Players will have to follow clues to these objects, which might end at the Declaration of Independence or a piece of 100-year-old artwork.
McGonigal says that Find the Future is “designed to empower young people to find their own futures by bringing them face-to-face with the writings and objects of people who made an extraordinary difference.” She hopes it will “turn players into superempowered, hopeful individuals with real skills and ideas to help them change the world.”
After May 20, Find the Future will be available for everyone to play on their own personal devices or through the NYPL’s public computers. If you’d like to become one of the special 500 to participate first, you can sign up here.