World without oil

Game designed to brainstorm the challenges of a worldwide oil shortage


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About the project Edit

World Without oil is a collaborative alternate reality time-limited simulation of a global oil shortage, played for a period of 32 days.
By playing it out in a serious way, the game aimed to apply collective intelligence and imagination to the problem in advance, and create a record that has value for educators, policymakers, and the common people to help anticipate the future and prevent its worst outcomes.

In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

WORLD WITHOUT OIL simulated the first 32 weeks of a global oil crisis. It established a citizen “nerve center”to track events and share solutions. Anybody could play by creating a personal story – an email or phone call, or for advanced users a blog post, video, photo, podcast, twitter, whatever – that chronicled the imagined reality of their life in the crisis. The WWO site at links to all these stories. The game encouraged excellence with daily awards and recognition for authentic and intriguing stories..
The game was announced on March 2, 2007, and its teaser site went live at that time. A countdown site appeared approximately 2 weeks before the gamestart on April 30, 2007. The game concluded 32 days later, on June 1, 2007.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

WWO called upon players to imagine and document their own lives under critical conditions, without the support of an immersive avatar-based environment. People told compelling stories and shared ideas, posted dailym on how they would change their daily life if new constraints and opportunities were applied.

If People can develop the same kind of intelligence about the real issues they face as players do about a virtual game, they should be more prepared to face the challenges of real planet changes.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

A game can "crowd-source" an exceedingly complex problem - i.e., use "collective imagination" to visualize the issues and massively multi-author prescriptive actions from a bottom up grassroots perspective.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

Via a game, people can experience a possible future "from inside," which can be more engaging and life-changing than passive, non-interactive experiences. As Jane Mc Gonical puts it in her book "Reality is broken", "by turning a real problem into a voluntary obstacle, we activated more genuine interest, curiosity, motivation, effort, and optimism than we would have otherwise."

What is the business model of this project? Edit

World Without Oil was presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funding by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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