One of the first victims of a hurricane (or a flood or a tornado or an earthquake) is the sense of control. The trauma of survivors often centers not on loss of life alone, or of property, but of a belief in the individual as an actor. In children it is particularly acute.
Game company Area/Code believes gaming, something most kids are already familiar with, can help build up and preserve kids' sense of worth and consequence. They are not only designed a game to do so, "Battlestorm," but with the help of the Knight Foundation, the United Way and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, they staged live competitive gaming with an online aspect to stress the power of kids to survive and overcome the threat of a disaster.
The game, which is a cross between basketball, capture-the-flag and collaborative online gaming, is played in a real world game space and online. Kids around the country competed according to a set of rules published by Area/code. The winners competed in the finals at the Biloxi, Mississippi High School gym on Saturday.
After elimination, one team was left, The Castaways, and that team played not against another high school team, but against "The Hurricane." The Hurricane are in fact, members of the Seabees, the U.S. Navy's construction battalion. How could a bunch of kids win against people who play the hurricane survival game every day for a living? That's where the Web came in.
By assembling a Hurricane Preparedness Kit, documenting it via digital photo and submitting it to the Battlestorm website, the team that went against The Hurricane received "Powers" to offset the difference in skill. The Powers are represented by online badges similar to those used in check-in tools like Foursquare.
Other sources: BoingBoing