Building from existing games

FutureCoast: The Fifth Wave

FutureCoast: Fifth Wave is a continuation and expansion of FutureCoast, an experimental game project run in Feb-Mar-Apr of 2014. In the "participatory cli-fi" game:


The software system of the future has sprung a space-time leak. But since it’s only in their voicemail storage, it takes them decades to get around to fixing it. Meanwhile, we get to listen to the messages that people leave for each other in the years 2020 to 2065 – by turns banal, mysterious, and terrifying.


The 2014 game features voicemails only. FutureCoast: Fifth Wave would expand the formats that people can use to create future messages: in addition to voicemails, people could create images, documents, videos, and artifacts that have leaked out of the cloud of possible futures. As in the 2014 game, creating these contributions is a meaningful learning experience in "future thinking" for game players, and the contributions aggregate to form a crowdsourced collaborative map of possible futures, a meaningful learning experience for participants and observers.


The 2014 game is a project I am leading right now, with its in-game hub at It's one of the partner projects addressing climate science education in the PoLAR Partnership at Columbia University. It is nominated for a Webby Award and drawing much interest in academia and the press for its innovative game-based approach to changing the dialogue about climate-changed futures.


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Idea No. 97