Sunday, May 22, 2011

New York Public Library Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The New York Public Library (NYPL) celebrated its 100 year history by looking to the future and invited game designer Jane McGonigal to create a game called "Find the Future".

McGonigal spoke on a panel with Stuart Candy and Michael Specter where they talked about the future from two perspectives- How we will respond to new developments in the future and how we will change the way we live today based on our perceptions of the future. They urged participants to "Think about the future, plan for disruptions in the status quo, and be ready to go when the future arrives."

Jane McGonigal (left) has taught game design and game theory at the San Francisco Art Institute and the University of California, Berkeley and she currently serves as the Director of Game Research & Development at Institute for the Future. She recently wrote Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How they Can Change the World.

Stuart Candy (far left) is Senior Foresight and Innovation Specialist at Arup, Adjunct Professor at California College of the Arts, and Research Fellow of The Long Now Foundation. He believes our education system is "broken in a big way."

Michael Specter (right) has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998 and is the author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives.

Find the Future: The Game is a pioneering, interactive experience created especially for NYPL’s Centennial by famed game designer Jane McGonigal, with Natron Baxter and Playmatics. McGonigal says gaming is the most productive way to spend our time and urges everyone to play online games about an hour every day. Games build curiosity, optimism, pride, relationships, meaning, and purpose.

Find the Future: The Game kicked off on May 20, 2011 as part of NYPL’s Centennial Festival weekend, with a “Write All Night” event inside the landmark building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Starting in April, 500 people pre-qualified to participate.

Players (18 and older) explored the building’s 70 miles of stacks, and, using laptops and smartphones, followed clues to such treasures as the Library’s copy of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s hand. After finding each object, players wrote short, personal essays inspired by their quest — for example, how would they write the Declaration? A collaborative book based on these personal stories about the future is being compiled and will be added to the Library’s collections.

Starting Saturday, May 21, 2011, Find the Future: The Game opened up to gamers across the city and the world who are able to play using their personal smartphones or computers, or on free computers at any of NYPL’s 90 locations.

Click on the heading above to learn more about Find the Future: The Game.

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