let the world-changing games begin

Kind of an interesting theory that coming together to game for real-life could create an urgent optimism to solve the world’s problems. Jane McGonigal references the ancient historian Herodotus who says that games, particularly dice games were invented in the kingdom of Lydia, a region on the eastern coast of ancient Turkey, during a time of famine. So, the famine was so severe that the leader of Lydia decreed that they needed an extreme solution. They invented dice games and they set up a kingdom-wide policy. One one day, everybody would eat. And on the next day, everybody would play games. And they would be so immersed in playing the dice games because games are so engaging, and immerse us in such satisfying blissful productivity, they would ignore the fact that they had no food to eat. And then on the next day, they would play games. And on the next day they would eat. And they passed 18 years this way. Eventually, as the famine continued, they divided the kingdom in half and played one final dice game, whereby the winners got to go on an epic adventure. They would leave Lydia, And they would go out in search of a new place to live, leaving behind just enough people to survive on the resources that were available, and hopefully to take the civilization somewhere else where they could thrive. And the cool thing is that recent DNA findings have shown that the Etruscans of Lydia may have migrated to Italy from the Near East, a theory long disputed by most archaelogists. So Herodotus’s story could actually be true.
Some of the alternative reality games she’s developed that are designed to improve real lives or solve real problems are evoke, world without oil, and superstruct.


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