Innovation That Matters

Online game focuses on real-world kindness

Publishing & Media

We’ve written about several technology-enhanced games that aim to get kids to exercise; one we hadn’t seen, however, was an online game that strives to promote social change. Sure enough, though, Akoha is a new, reality-based game that uses mobile, web and real-world challenges to ask the question, “What if playing a game could make the world a better place?” Launched into public beta in December, Akoha challenges players to carry out missions that involve performing small acts of kindness for others. Each player gets equipped with a deck of 24 mission cards—priced at USD 5—each of which describes a challenge to be carried out. Examples include “Donate an Hour of Your Time,” “Give Someone a Book” or “Send Drinks to a Couple in Love.” Each card also includes a Mission ID number that’s used to track the mission online. Every time a player performs one of these missions, he or she hands the card to the mission’s beneficiary, or the person who receives the act of kindness. That person can then log onto the game’s site to register receipt and write a short description of their experience of the mission, complete with photos or videos if desired. From there, they can explore the game and begin conducting missions of their own. The original player, meanwhile, enters their own description of the mission and earns points for completing it, allowing them to advance in the game; they can also track the influences of their missions around the globe, with each person’s story of receiving and forwarding the mission documented online. The general idea, then, is that more players get recruited along the way and more good deeds get performed around the world. Players can also suggest their own mission cards, and they’ll soon be able to custom-design their own mission decks as well. Akoha is another nice example of what our sister site calls the OFF=ON trend, whereby the lines dividing the online and offline worlds are becoming less clear. By late January players of the game had carried out more than 2,000 missions in 33 countries—60 percent of them having joined Akoha because they received a mission card. Through a community challenge with charity partner Room to Read, Montreal-based Akoha will sponsor the construction of a new library in Nepal once 25,000 missions have been completed. Akoha also plans to begin offering sponsorship opportunities for organizations to give Akoha decks to their members. One to try out, partner with, or otherwise get involved in…? (Related: Clothing brand asks its wearers to be kind.) Spotted by: Khady Beye



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