Saybrook University Alum Launches a New Kind of Online Game: The Player Wins When They’ve Saved the Real World

Posted on: April 2, 2013

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) April 02, 2013

“Reality is broken,” said author Jane McGonigal. “Game designers will fix it.” That process begins today with the development of a new way to play, harnessing the enthusiasm of online gamers to solve real global problems. Project Milky Way: Rise of the Cyberhero League is an award-winning interactive gaming adventure that turns gaming into a way to tackle the world’s most complex challenges. Selected as a winning entry in the World Future Society’s Beta-Launch Tech competition, this timely adventure is raising the bar for gaming as we know it and bringing cutting-edge scientific research into the mainstream.

We’ve all heard about cyber-bullies and cyber-villains, but according to the game’s creator, Dana Klisanin, who graduated from Saybrook with a PhD in psychology in 2003, there are literally millions of people around the world who engage in online activities with the intention of helping others. These acts of collaborative heroism represent a new form of the hero archetype, the cyberhero. Last year, Dr. Klisanin received the Early Career Award for Scientific Achievement in Media Psychology for her pioneering research in this area from the American Psychological Association’s Division of Media Psychology.

The Cyberhero League celebrates this new form of heroism and gives cyberheroes a gathering place. In the game, players set up the conditions for their heroic training, which involves a ground-breaking combination of virtual and real-life elements, sending Cyberheroes on a scout-like adventure that spans three online gaming worlds, global treasure hunts, local events, and apps that allow you to do things like track your everyday heroic actions in order to gain extra strength in the game world and vice versa.

Klisanin said that she used a lot the information she learned at Saybrook in bringing this game to fruition.

“My transdisciplinary approach to global challenges arose from the study of evolutionary systems design with Bela H. Banathy; the conviction that we can transform both personal and societal mythologies arose from working with Stanley Krippner, my research in the area of digital altruism and collective heroism has its roots in the study of creativity with Ruth Richards,” she said. “Saybrook’s humanistic approach promotes the ‘higher reaches of human nature,’ bringing balance to technology and encouraging the evolution of consciousness. I feel greatly indebted to the Saybrook community–administrators, faculty, graduates, and current students–for their continued commitment to humanistic approaches.”

Players can establish a permaculture garden, build an eco-friendly hideout, solve riddles, go on geocaching treasure hunts, and establish relationships with humanitarians and environmentalists across time and culture, all while gaining points for visiting national parks, museums, and World Heritage Sites. During game play, players’ actions will generate real-world donations for partner nonprofits—food, water, shelter, animal habitat, etc.—by earning the badges of these organizations.

Right now game play will mostly be limited to beta-testers, but anyone who wants to put on a cape and save the world through gaming can get a spot by supporting the Cyberhero League’s Indiegogo campaign. When the campaign is finished, they’ll be given their passcodes to adventure.