Shouldn’t there be some sort of super-excited-feeling that goes with this?!?!
I never wrote an “aftermath” post to the Find the Future game that I played back in May, because the truth is, I felt a little deflated. Unimpressed for sure. Disappointed overall. It was tricky to articulate that, because I didn’t want to pop the balloon for everyone else who (completely fairly) loved it.
The library itself is a masterpiece, as are the artifacts in it including books, paintings, technology relics, timepieces, cultural symbols, the stacks, and the architecture itself. The game was not a masterpiece – what work really is on the first go around though? – but to me fell very short. It fell a little bit too short, where I felt like many driving game mechanics for me – including the hand-in-hand qualities of cooperation and competition, and following a set of rules – missed the mark, and where the seven secrets (of the artifacts, powers, stories, teams, collaboration, clock, and stacks) felt terribly unimportant for and disjointed from the achieving the ultimate goal of writing a book. The size of the game, web interface, time of play, and mechanism for unlocking each artifact seem like the biggest areas of improvement, and their combined shortcomings unfortunately lowered my appreciation for the game. The experience on whole was fine enough, but the promise of a really neat social game was relatively unfulfilled.
I think I felt let down on the game aspect because I went in with very high expectations. I love Jane McGonigal‘s whole paradigm of changing the world through games, because it makes sense both in theory and, with time, in practice. The short term game didn’t live up to either my personal expectations or the expectations created from the opening speech, that’s for sure, and the structure and mechanics just felt off. But, Jane did say that we wouldn’t play the whole game that night. What she meant in context was that we’d have to come back to find all of the artifacts on our own and write all of our own stories, but my glimmer of hope is that the game’s not done in a different way. The game might, in the long term, ultimately be a success in the change-the-world kind of way because of this: I (and, I think, everyone else there) met some pretty neat people and interacted with even more. I’m now buddies with them on Twitter and Facebook. As a result, they have and continue to in many ways influence my thinking, and my future opportunities, and my approach to group interactions. So, while this doesn’t help me win the Find The Future game anymore, I think there’s potential for the overall experience to feel like a win over time.
So, am I psyched about the published author thing? Meh. But maybe when I go see what promises to be a gorgeous book with some stuff I’ve never read in it, it’ll hit me how cool this is and how we won together.