Friday, April 06, 2012

Can an App Create Heroes?


Now more than ever the world needs more heroes. It needs more 'good guys'. It needs more "Supermen" (and women). The question is...can an app create more heroes?

This question leads me to my latest experiment. Let's take a large number of would be heroes and give them the tools to become real heroes, then we'll see if they step up and take action.


The first thing we'll need is a large number of would-be heroes. I believe I have the perfect source. "City of Heroes" an online massively multiplayer online game (MMO) is populated by literally THOUSANDS of people from around the globe that spend a good part of their spare time running around in virtual tights and capes saving the city...(or sometimes even the world). I figure this is exactly the core group of people that would aspire to become real heroes.

Now, how do we get these future heroes to download and use the app? First, we make it something they would find helpful, or fun. And secondly, we make it free. In that scenario there's really no down side for the players. Lucky for me City of Heroes doesn't yet have an official app. In fact, to my surprise there is only one City of Heroes app available and it simply gives server status.

So, part one of the experiment is to create a free City of Heroes app for the players and acquire a base set of users. I have a large stake in this because City of Heroes is one of my favorite MMO's and one I still frequently play.

Once we have a solid core app and a good base of users we can roll into phase 2 of the plan. Now that people are using the app...how do we help them become real heroes? The answer, I believe, is much easier than it sounds. There are heroes in the real world today and much like Batman, having supernatural strength or powers is not a requirement. There are in fact, quite a few "hero organizations"...heck you could almost call them "super groups" all around the nation. Let's name a few; Big Brothers and Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer Firefighters, Make-a-Wish Foundation. There are even ways people can be a 'hero' to others while sitting in front of their computer. Sites like sparked.com take volunteers in a wide range of specialties and put them together in ways they can help others in need.

You may be asking, "Do you really think these 'gamers' are going to stop playing their computer game to help random people?"

My answer is simple, "Yes."

Do I think all of them are going to jump on the volunteer bandwagon? No. But given a group of thousands of people if even a small percentage of people take a stand to help someone else then I believe a lot of people could be helped as a result.

Enough planning, let's get to programming and see if we can't create a few heroes.

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