The U.S. military is turning to the video-gaming public to to develop new energy use strategies for both the Navy and Marine Corps. MMOWGLI - which stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet - was launched last June to enlist help from unconventional thinkers to tackle the issue of piracy.
The game invites players to bring everything they know about energy—from strategies they use at home to their workplace conversations, from their professional knowledge to their wildest imaginings.
Scheduled to run for three days starting May 22, the newest version – EnergyMMOWGLI - will immerse players in a future scenario from the year 2022 and ask them to generate ideas around how to reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency.
Players move through the game by responding to a series of “Call to Action” videos that define the problems.
The EnergyMMOWGLI storyline focuses on finding energy at the lowest cost within harsh environments. The players post their solutions in the form of “cards,” and they earn points based on a system that rewards innovative thinking.
There is no prize at the end, but winning ideas will be considered by the Office of Naval research with the potential for influencing real-life strategy.
Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons such as coal, oil and natural gas, sourced from the remains of prehistoric organisms.
According to the rules for this year’s game, drilling for more oil is out.
The Navy is looking to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, which are currently burned to produce electricity, power vehicles, heat homes, and cook food.
The U.S. currently imports over 60 percent of its oil from other countries. Much of the world’s oil is in the Middle East and the oil trade has caused many deadly conflicts in the 2oth century, which is why the game focuses on ways to become less dependent on oil.
Gaming in the military
Combat medics are using virtual simulators for medical training that could be useful in the battlefield.
This isn’t the first time the Armed Forces have used videogaming consoles or online games to assist with real-life situations.
Combat medics play "STATCare," a virtual simulator that lets them bandage wounds, apply tourniquets, administer intravenous fluids, inject medications and make all of the other assessments they would be required to do in an actual battlefield.
Military surgeons have also done training exercises on a system called "Top Gun," a program designed to train laparoscopic surgeons and doctors who use minimally-invasive techniques to repair injuries.
According to USA Today, surgeons who play video games three hours a week have 37 percent fewer errors and accomplish tasks 27 percent faster.
--Compiled by Thaisi H. Da Silva for NewsHour Extra