Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Superstruct: We're half-way to saving the world. Here's the Story So Far...

Justice for Audrey
Originally uploaded by jfpickard.

We're halfway through the Superstruct experiment. Want to catch up on the story so far? Here's the latest news and gossip from 2019. As you can see, there's a lot going on in our future. But don't let it intimidate you. If you haven't participated yet, it only takes 5 minutes to make your first contribution to the future. Please register and complete your survival profile now -- we need your help to win the game by November 17!


The future's changing us faster than we're changing the future. … In response to the World Health Organization’s suggested limits on gatherings of more than twelve people, Assembly12 is leading other superstructures in creating voluntary systems for crowd reduction. And the New Modesty is coming into fashion, thanks in part to the superstructure of the same name. Covered heads, covered hands, covered faces ... all can save lives. But fashion is one thing and violence is another. As the Administrator for Zone M17 reports, Taliban-like attacks are taking place in the street on men and women (mostly women) who are not "modestly" dressed…. Take the second Quarantine tour.

Other breaking Quarantine news:

Governments around the world step up quarantines, despite promises: Injunctions filed in US, UK, and Mexico

Biowarfare Claims in Pakistan-India Tensions: Guerilla groups use asymptomatic carriers as "Bio-Bombs"

ReDS Collaboratory Initiative Launched: Global open source project begins developing ReDS treatment

Businesses Closed in San Diego: The San Diego city council has issued a closure order for most businesses in fight against ReDS

Mybu4 Virus Spreads: The anti-ReDS bacteriophage Mybu4 has been found in the drinking water of London, Rio


We're just past week two of the global Superstruct push, and SEHIs are attacking the problems of food-supply from every angle -- from Vat-grown Protein to Stone Soup. As solutions continue to arise, however, so do the challenges. We're getting reports of continued battles on the home front for personal food security -- and SEHIs in California are advised to guard against robotic food collectors, a.k.a. RFCs, raiding community gardens. Such thefts certainly aren't a problem for producers only, increasing reports of grocery store robbery have surfaced as food prices rise…. Take the second Ravenous tour.

Other breaking Ravenous news:

Fears of food tampering intensify as more poisoned food discovered: European Justice Ministry suspects coordinated attacks

US Wheat Crop Shows Signs of Blight Infection: A wheat blight Ug99 outbreak has been confirmed in the US harvest for the first time

Food Riots Spread: Violence in France over rumored food supply problems have spread, despite government pleas

75% of New Trees Must Be Fruit-Bearing: Washington DC adopts local-food ordinance to replace ornamental trees

Transgenic Contamination Throws Winter Wheat: Source and impact of the genetic modifications are as yet unknown


The worrying development this week has been the arrest of GEAS president Dr. Audrey Chen and her team by the US Department of Justice. The one organisation that's actually doing something concrete, organised and constructive about facing up to the challenges of our times and this happens. It seems the proverbial ostrich not only has its head in the sand - it's also blindly kicking out at anyone who might want to take a look around...There's all sorts of speculation as to the reasons behind all this, but for now the most important thing we can all do is show our support for Dr. Chen. Meanwhile, a brilliant Superstructure has just been launched by lehall and some co-conspirators - if you feel that your own Superstructure has stalled, or you're not sure how to move it forward and contribute to a better future then get in touch with the Mission Makers…. Take the second Power Struggle Tour.

Other breaking Power Struggle news:

Survey shows that governments, corporations not trusted as energy information resources: May make public more susceptible to energy scams

Sea Power Piracy: Portuguese wave power system hijacked

Solar is Civil Defense: Solar Power advocates offer demonstrations, advice

Oil-Eating Microbes Found in Alaska: Level of disruption of reserves unknown

TransAfrica Power Backbone Begun: Individuals help generate power from Cairo to Pretoria


in the last update, we asked you whether noble ends could ever justify morally questionable ways of getting there. 20 days in, and we're starting to settle on an answer. We might not like what the outlaws mean for our day-to-day existence. But that isn't something that's stopping us from using their methods in the name of a greater good. Looking at superstructures, The Society for the Creative Breaking of Shit ('strategic griefing of the unacceptable') has been at the head of this shift. And on a more personal level - some SEHIs have been re-evaluating their choice of hat.... Take the second Outlaw Planet tour.

Other breaking Outlaw Planet news:

GEAS Leadership arrested, Director Audrey Chen remains in custody: US Justice Officials call the GEAS report "a brazen act of psychological terrorism"

Cal-Threat Hacked: The California Superthreat Warning Network has been hacked, with no resolution in sight.

Attacks on GEAS: GEAS personnel and volunteers are being targeted, and all Superstructers should be careful.

Micro-"Spore" Spy Swarms Pose Security, Health Risk: Tiny drones cause big problems by capturing and transmitting nib pen movement

"Countdown" Malware Mystery Deepens: Virus surfaces again in networked refrigerators, stereos, AR headsets, and more


The superthreats are converging for climate refugees. Displaced persons who have become infected with the ReDS virus are facing yet another danger, of the human variety. In Nevada, roving gangs have been reported abducting ReDS victims from their homes and executing them. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, GEAS volunteer noplacelikehome tells a story of being abducted by a terrorist group who is trying to accelerate the Voluntary Extinction Movement by making people believe that they are infected with ReDS! Meanwhile The Democratic Central African Republic, or DCAR, has recruited a group of 16 million African refugees from various warring countries who "lost the will to continue fighting but will not allow each other to declare victory"... Take the second Generation Exile tour.

Other breaking Generation Exile news:

Refugees now being used as unconventional weapons, according to UN: Mass migration seen as a form of warfare

"Can't Go Home Again": Central American returnees meet resentment, fear.

Kashmir Conflict Pushes Migration: Rising tensions along the India-Pakistan border have increased migration from the two nations.

Nomads in the American Desert: Burning Man organizers plan for a new refugee promised land

New Orleans Diaspora Launches Virtual Museum: A "reunificaton portal" seeks to provide history, community, and connection


Breaking news and urgent alerts from GEAS:

GEAS Superstructing Tips from Senior Participation Architects: IFTF's director of game R & D gives a "how to play" Superstruct update -- plus GEAS issues the 14K point challenge!

Participation Bandwidth Strained! GEAS recommends a Top 3 Superstructure strategy: Senior participation architects at GEAS advise SEHIs to consolidate and declare their top 3 superstructures.

“Grassroots is not enough – critical failure looming”: Supercomputer predicts bottom-up efforts will lose momentum by late 2020

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

MISSING OUT ON THE YEAR 2019? Go on a whirlwind tour of Superstruct now!

What players are saying about Superstruct so far…

“Superstruct is making my brain unfurl in the most hopeful ways…” - RachelAnnYes

“It’s my favorite vision of the future ever. Because it’s a future that I can actually be useful in.” - Andrew

“We need a SEHI brain-matter reclamation service, for when our heads explode from the possibilities.” – NordicNinja
If you haven’t had time to explore the world of 2019 yet, don’t worry – it’s easy to catch up!

Each week, our Superthreat guides publish a summary highlight of the most important ideas, the most dramatic stories, and the most ingenious superstructures… think of it as a whirlwind tour of the future. Take one tour, or take all five! Below, you’ll find links to the first round of reports.

If you’re inspired along the tour, please take a minute to leave a comment on a story, add a discussion post, or join a superstructure… Every time you log in and make a contribution to the site, you’re making a valuable contribution to our future. You’re helping other superstructors build their ideas, you’re adding to our research database, and you’re developing your own Superstruct powers…

So please don’t be a silent observer of the future. Log in, do something, say something, and help invent a world we want to live in!

Take a whirlwind tour of the future!

Fear is turning out to be as big a threat as disease. But the arts community and the tech community are fighting back… TAKE THE QUARANTINE TOUR

Can you hear the thunder, people? It's the sound of several billion rumbling stomachs: the portent of a coming storm. The whole world is ravenous, and feeding time is nigh. TAKE THE RAVENOUS TOUR

A lot of people are suffering, but there is also a real groundswell of practical and ingenious solutions emerging… TAKE THE POWER STRUGGLE TOUR

Blocking griefers, repelling trojans, and bootstrapping the site seem to have taken precedence over our superstructing mission…But do desperate times call for desperate measures? Could hackers play a positive role in tackling the superthreats – by forcing transparency, revealing hypocrisy, and breaking up the dinosaur instititutions which are resisting change? TAKE THE OUTLAW PLANET TOUR

The GEAS report is enough to scare the living daylight out of any human being. But never give up, SEHIs… TAKE THE GENERATION EXILE TOUR

Sunday, October 19, 2008

RAVENOUS!! grrrr - plus, the Superstruct Meetup (you can still come!)

One thing I'm really proud of -- Superstruct is REALLY preparing its players for the future -- by engaging them in thinking and talking about some of the biggest, most potentially world-changing issues that SHOULD be on our collective radar but aren't quite yet. Issues like disruptions to the food supply chain, the coming wave of climate change refugees, and "social terrorism" in the form of mass network griefing.

That's what the Institute for the Future specializes in, of course -- helping people play attention to what's on the horizon before we're full-on wrestling with it. And it's something World Without Oil did amazingly well, too. (Hardly anyone was thinking about the reality of the end of cheap, abundant oil back in the spring of 2007 when we ran the game -- more than a year later, finally everyone is grappling with it.)

To Superstruct's credit, I think, here's a fabulous article by Michael Pollan warning that the food chain disruption (exactly what the Superthreat RAVENOUS is all about!) is an issue we should be thinking about, but aren't.

With a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention.

And that's just one reason that people who play Superstruct will be more ready to survive and make a difference in the future than anyone else! JOIN NOW and get ready for the future!


Also: If you're interested in attending the Superstruct Meetup at the Institute for the Future on Monday October 20, we have room for folks to just show up. So consider youself invited, and here's a sneak preview!


We can't wait to see you at the Superstruct meetup. This confirms your RSVP... and here is a sneak preview of the event! (And yes, if you have friends or colleagues who want to come but haven't RSVP'd yet -- feel free to bring them along!)

*The meetup starts at 4:30 PM and goes 'til 6:00 PM. Get there early if you want to be sure to get some of the bootleg 2019 champagne -- we were only able to smuggle one magnum past the "Zero Tolerance - No Food Imports" picket line.
*At 6:00 PM, adventurous friends are invited to join us on a short downtown game mission as we embed 2019 artifacts in the real world. (The Analog Superthreat Warning System mission will last half an hour, and will earn you the superstruct badge of your choice! Find out more about the mission. If you want to make a flyer or poster in advance of the meetup, that's great! You can email me or yourself the digital file, or bring it on a thumbdrive, and we'll color print them for you at IFTF.

*We're expecting a small crowd of some of the most interesting future people we know, including:
-- Jamais Cascio, the Director of Impacts Analysis for the GLOBAL EXTINCTION AWARENESS SYSTEM;
--Steve Puma, manager of a 3D virtual think tank for sustainable management and our lead GENERATION EXILE guide;
--Kiyash Monsef, a senior member of XTV -- the alliance of blacklisted TV journalists and hackers dedicated to disseminating reliable information "by any platform necessary", and the producer of the SUPERTHREAT VIDEOS;
--and of course, FUTURE YOU! (If you don't know who you'll be in 2019 yet, don't worry -- we'll help you figure it out.)
*We'll also be joined by a SUNDANCE CHANNEL crew. The event is being filmed by Sundance for a short TV documentary about Superstruct. If you're willing to be interviewed or filmed playing the game, that's fantastic! Otherwise, keep in mind you will probably be in a least a few background shots.

To get to IFTF, check safe face-to-face celebrations!
*Due to the RAVENOUS superthreat, we encourage you to bring a snack to share.

Thanks for helping us invent the future. We'll see you at IFTF!

Jane McGonigal
Director of Game Research & Development at the Institute for the Future
Founder of the Make Your Own Reality Network, which is celebrating its 5-year anniversary in 2019

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time to bring back Best Sentence of the Day!

Time to start posting again on my Best Sentence of the Day blog...

From the world of publishing news:

Researcher at the Institute for the Future and alternate reality game designer Jane McGonigal's REALITY IS BROKEN: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Change the World, an examination of how games function as "happiness engines," and how the lessons from game design and game play can be used to solve real-world problems, to Vanessa Mobley at Penguin Press, at auction, by Chris Parris Lamb at The Gernert Company.

I'll start writing after Superstruct reaches its profoundly amazing conclusion on November 17, 2008.

(By the way, in case you didn't realize it, you can play Superstruct for literally just 10 minutes and STILL make an important contribution to the future. Just join the community and fill out your personal survival profile -- that's all it takes to complete your first game mission! So if you think you don't have time to play some big elaborate forecasting game... you DO have time! Don't miss out because the game will end a month from now!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Invitation! Superstruct party/meetup in Palo Alto October 20!

What will the year 2019 be like? And who will YOU be in the future?

You’re invited to a SUPERSTRUCT PARTY & MEET-UP!

Learn all about, and try out, Superstruct, the worlds’ first massively-multiplayer forecasting game

If you've been meaning to check out Superstruct but haven't had time yet...
If you've poked around the site, but haven't registered yet...
If you've been playing the game and want to learn more about how it was designed and what comes next in 2019...

Monday October 20, 2008 (2019)
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
at the Institute for the Future

*This meet-up will be filmed for the Sundance Channel, which is doing a show about Superstruct*

Address: 124 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA (across the street from the downtown Palo Alto Cal Train station)

FOR NEW PLAYERS: Learn how the game works, register, and complete your first mission

FOR EXPERIENCED PLAYERS: Meet other SEHIs, talk to the game director and scenario director about what should happen next in 2019, earn a rare badge, and complete an advanced game mission

FOR ADVENTURERS: The meetup is followed by an optional “downtown mission”. Are you ready to take Superstruct to the real world?

Please RSVP by Friday October 17 to

Due to the Ravenous Superthreat and the globally disrupted food supply chains, this party is BYOS – bring your own snack to share with others with others. (We’ll provide drinks, including bootleg champagne!)

P.S. It will be my birthday party, so we'll be blowing out an extra 11 candles on a birthday cake -- you know, what with it being 2019 and all ^_^

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Superstruct Updates -- the future happens fast, and a party invitation!

Superstruct has been live for 60 hours, or 2.5 days! Join us now -- it only takes 20 seconds!

The Superstruct community is growing FAST! We are averaging a new player -- or Super-Empowered Hopeful Individual (SEHI), as they are called in the world of 2019 -- every 90 seconds, around the clock. That means we're at over 2300 SEHIs already, so this is a great time to get involved, make allies and contribute something new to the game world.

Your first mission when you join is to invent your future self by filling out a social network profile for the year 2019. It is super-fun to read some of these profiles and find out what people hope to be up to a decade from now. Here is my 2019 profile, and here is my husband's 2019 profile. His really surprised me -- does Kiyash really plan to be an kind of outlaw news producer in 10 years? Uh oh!!

There are too many exciting things going on in Superstruct to name them all here. I'm particular excited about the Art Replacing Knowledge superstructure and some potential pro-social shaming campaigns getting underway (yes, I am curious if something like shaming can become a benevolent gesture... do for transparency what Cruel 2 B Kind did for assassination??) My own superstructure that I founded is Gamedemic -- the goal is to make games so sticky that people voluntarily quarantine themselves during pandemic outbreaks. If you can describe your favorite game in 2019, you can join Gamedemic!

Finally, an invitation -- Kiyash and I will be going to the first known live Superstruct event in Santa Cruz this weekend. It's a player-organized potluck dinner party IN A CAVE for members of an "underground railroad" for climate refugees on the California Coast. Now you can't seriously tell me you have something more interesting to do on Saturday night than go to a dinner party for climate refugees organized by an underground railroad network IN A CAVE. Whoo whooo!!

(As our potluck contribution, we're bringing "bootleg 2019 champagne" which we're not supposed to be drinking because we're part of a local food economy and importing champagne is very taboo)

RSVP here and I'll see you there!!

P.S. Here's an awesome immersive invitation to the event -- fast forward to the final 30 seconds for the fun invitation!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Superstruct Sneak Preview - The "How to Play" Video

How can you invent the future by playing an online game?

As the official new Director of Game Research & Development at the Institute for the Future -- yay -- I am happy to finally reveal the details of your seven Superstruct missions... AND the top seven Superstruct secrets to becoming an amazing player!

The game site goes live late Monday, October 6.

In the meantime, if you want to be READY to GO! when the game begins, you can watch this sneak preview "how to play" video. You'll become a Superstruct expert in just seven minutes!

(Thanks to Creative Commons artist D-Brane for providing this video with a great and apt soundtrack: the track "How to use a Timeship".)