×

Activism website targets gamers

Armchair Revolutionary merges doing good with playing

A group of Hollywood-based entrepreneurs is embarking on an effort to take social activism to the next level: Gaming.

A website, called Armchair Revolutionary (armrev.org), launches today, combining online gaming and crowdsourcing with social activism.

Users register on the site and are faced with a number of tasks, quizzes, votes and other activities, all tied to certain “projects” or causes.

Armchair Revolutionary launches with three projects, including Make Waves, in which users help create a game promoting the protection of the oceans, with each player getting a plot of water to care for; End of Darkness, which includes a quiz and a way to finance a company that will sell affordable solar kits to the poor and Hack Your Body, in which users take a quiz about genetic research and can donate to a documentary about genomics revolution.

The site uses a “virtual currency,” called kredz, with 3 kredz equivalent to 99 cents. Akin to the way that groups like MoveOn.org collected huge sums in small-dollar contributions, the idea is that riskier projects, like those tied to energy and the environment, are more likely to get financed by amassing large numbers of small donors via micropayments.

Popular on Variety

Ariel Hauter, the org’s president, said one of the motivations behind Armchair Revolutionary is to find a new way to draw donors beyond being “guilt driven” or “crisis driven.”

“A game allows you to do things in a much more sustainable way,” he said.

The site also will raise money via the sale of digital artwork, which can be used to customize profiles.

He added that plans are in the works to tie games to real-time data, so players can get a sense of the progress of a particular project.

Hauter, along with Ori Neidich, co-founded non-profit org the Hollywood Hill, which has been bringing together industry professionals with experts in technology and science via seminars and educational events since 2004. Its advisers include Lawrence Bender and Scott Z. Burns, as well as gaming industry publishers and producers Robin Hunicke, Susan Bonds and Adam Sussman. The Hollywood Hill is collaborating in the development of the social change games with the USC Games Institute and its director, Chris Swain, on what is called the Play4Change Lab.

Games for social change have been an emerging category in recent years, with such titles as Darfur Is Dying, a Web game put out by MTV in 2006 that tried to engage users in the crisis in Sudan.

Another org, Games for Change, launched in 2004, holds an annual festival bringing together designers and developers with government officials and activists. Its next event is planned for next month in New York, featuring the White House’s chief technology officer.

More Scene

  • Sean Penn CORE Gala

    Sean Penn Offers to Take Selfies in Exchange for $5,000 Donations to Disaster Relief

    A decade after the catastrophic 7.0 Haiti earthquake left between 50,000 and 100,000 dead and nearly a million people displaced, Sean Penn hosted the 10th anniversary CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) gala, raising funds for international disaster relief at the Wiltern Theatre on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. “We’re not here tonight because we want [...]

  • Allison Janney Viola Davis

    Viola Davis & Allison Janney React to Lack of Diversity in 2020 Oscar Nominations

    Monday morning’s Oscar nominations rebooted the #OscarsSoWhite conversation, reigniting discussion about representation after women were shut out of the directing category and only one person of color — Cynthia Erivo — was nominated in the acting categories. At the premiere of Amazon Original’s “Troop Zero” at The Grove in Los Angeles on Monday evening, the [...]

  • Star Trek Picard Premiere

    'Picard' Stars Reveal Which 'Star Trek' Character They Would Get Drunk With

    The cast and creators of “Star Trek: Picard” turned out for the show’s premiere at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome on Monday night. In the spirit of the festive atmosphere of the night, Variety asked them which “Star Trek” character, past or present, they’d most like to pound a few Romulan ales with at the local [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Laura Dern

    Inside the 2020 Critics' Choice Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    ‘Twas the night before Oscar nominations and all through the ballroom, the Barker Hanger was buzzing as critics mixed and mingled with A-listers inside the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night. Life Achievement winner Eddie Murphy, #SeeHer honoree Kristen Bell, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Bong Joon Ho were among the big names who played [...]

  • Taye Diggs Critics Choice

    Critics' Choice Awards: The Complete Winners List

    The 25th annual Critics’ Choice Awards gala, hosted by Taye Diggs, was broadcast live on The CW on Sunday night. It was a good night for both Netflix and HBO, with the studios taking home trophies for movies and shows like “The Irishman,” “Marriage Story,” “When They See Us,” “Watchmen” and “Succession.” “Once Upon a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content