The Story of Stuff

Picture 1My cousin Alana sent me a link to the Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard today. It is a 20-minute Flash animated presentation about our world of consumption. The straight-talk and simple illustrations in the film cleverly depict the sad reality of our consumption habit, and how it is destroying the planet.

The site is not all doom and gloom though, and does not come off as preachy. There is a playful humor in the animation and thankfully no “10 simple steps” list provided for such a complex problem. This is an awareness piece, which lets you decide how best to make a difference. The good news is that there are great people and organizations working hard to reverse these patterns destroying our planet. Is it too little too late though? Hopefully not!

If you like the idea of having a sustainable world, something to leave behind for future generations… I highly recommend a viewing! It just might change the way you look at things a bit, and perhaps motivate you to do whatever you can to contribute less to the problem.

Also kudos to the design house behind this site, Free Range Studios. They did a really nice job integrating interactive features into the presentation.

Grandma Dora

991425842203_0_albMy Grandma Dora passed away last night. She was an amazing woman and I will miss her deeply. A Holocaust survivor, mother of three daughters, and grandmother to five grandchildren, she had strength of character, with lots of energy and zest, and only love for her family.

Like over 5 million Americans, my Grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s, a disease which destroys the brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Over the past 2 years, she started to tune out from reality, and in her final weeks she stopped eating and drinking altogether. Today, Alzheimer’s is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. To help in the fight against Alzehimer’s disease, make a donation or join the National Alzheimer Advocate Network and urge lawmakers to fund Alzheimer research and support programs.

I will always remember my Grandmother as somebody who loved to dance, cook, sew and most of all be with her daughters and grandchildren. Being with the family meant everything to her. She was a survivor, and I am here because of that.

Serious Gaming

Recently, there has been a lot of attention focused on the notion of “Serious Games.” I could not be more pleased, as this is an area of great interest to me, and one I intend to explore much more of in the coming years.

I am excited at the notion that gaming can have a powerful impact on society, by tapping into social networking, educating players to important issue, and perhaps motivating them to take action in the real world. This idea has been gaining in popularity, but I think the break-out game is nowhere in sight! The game that will truly change the world for the better on a global scale! It’s possible!

A bit of background…

My experience with Superdudes has had a lasting impact on me. Back in 2002, I had the privilege of collaborating with some amazing people who took their role as “real-life-superheroes” to heart. Together we created a social network gaming portal, which had a higher-purpose — to change the world!
Superdudes had modest success, with over 1 million sign-ups in just under two years. The site was acquired by Intermix Networks and than later by Fox Interactive as part of the MySpace deal. Today, the site is still active with loyal members despite no updates to it since 2005. The magic that site produced is undeniable, and will live on in one form or another.

Fast forward to today…

The Serious Games Initiative is focused on uses for games in exploring management and leadership challenges facing the public sector. Part of its overall charter is to help forge productive links between the electronic game industry and projects involving the use of games in education, training, health, and public policy. This is a good thing!

There are also companies like Persuasive Games who are focused on games for persuasion, instruction, and activism. The hope to influence players to “…take action through gameplay” and understand that “games communicate differently than other media; they not only deliver messages, but also simulate experiences. While often thought to be just a leisure activity, games can also become rhetorical tools.”

Games like World Without Oil and Darfur is Dying are early success stories on what is certain to become a growing trend in Social Activist Gaming.

I’ll be tracking and repoting on these types of projects in the future.

It’s time to get serious about having fun!