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Could a game win the Nobel Prize?

Probably not, but that won’t stop people from trying – at least not Eric Zimmerman, the man behind the Game Design Challenge. This year he has challenged game designers to concoct up something that could win the Nobel Peace Prize. The ideas include a game that aims to inspire players to spontaneously meet and carry out humanitarian acts such as food drives, another is meant to make players assume the role of their enemies – and see the human costs of their decisions. While none of the designers will ever be invited to Stockholm, serious games are certainly getting more serious.

Update: See Ed Castronova on the economics of synthetic worlds:

What if everything in life were free? You'd think we'd be happier. But game designers know better: We'd be bored... That's why today's newer massive synthetic worlds make life hard. It's why we have to scheme, fight, and occasionally beg for food, shelter, transportation, and great big flaming swords. Games show us that scarcity can be fun.

Via William Polley. I've met Ed twice - incredibly interesting both times. Also see Tim's review of his book.