Tonight, I, along with 499 other young aspiring writers, gamers and the like, will be locked in the New York Public Library's Steven A. Schwarzman Building, which houses the NYPL's main branch, on the eastern edge of Bryant Park. Upon our entering the Schwarzman Building between 7pm and 7:45pm, none of us will be allowed to leave until 6am Saturday morning (notwithstanding true emergencies, I imagine, as well as, apparently smoke breaks...). No, this is not any sort of punishment. In fact, it is an award and an honor.
We were all selected, out of thousands of applicants, to participate in a live-action game and "Write All Night" event, directed by famed game designer, Jane McGonigal, and her husband, created with Kiyash Monsef, and designed and developed by Playmatics and Natron Baxter Applied Gaming (according to the game's FAQs) to commemorate the Schwartzman Building's centennial. Also according to the FAQ's, "[i]t is first game in the world in which winning the game means writing a book together – a collection of 100 ways to make history and change the future, inspired by 100 of the most intriguing works of the past." Although the details have been kept very secret, my understanding is that we will be broken into smaller groups and will be sent on a treasure/research hunt of sorts, around the library, with each group being assigned a number of quests to find historical objects, such as an original, handwritten copy of The Declaration of Independence. Together we will pen creative writings based on these objects, and our final product will be bound together in a book that will be available in the NYPL's general research section.
"Write all Night" entries were judged on factors such as originality, creativity and determination. As their first "quest" in the "Find the Future" game, applicants were required come up with a 140 character response to the following question: "By the year 2021 I will become the first person to...". I had some really unique and interesting ideas that I flushed out with some friends, and my initial entry was "I will be the first female masked adventurer sanctioned by the NYPD." However, after I hit "submit entry," I realized that there was a second component, in which you were asked to describe how you might achieve your goal. I started writing about things like ninja training classes, but I quickly realized that I just did not have a very good plan of attack (no pun intended) for becoming a masked adventurer. So, I edited my initial entry and instead went with, "I will become the first person to...create the next big wave in music and go down in history as the Queen of this new genre." (Scroll down to the end of this post if you would like to read my full entry.) (To read others' quests/entries, click here).
Because I am a research junkie, as soon as I learned that I had been selected (and even before, as I composed my entry), I scoured the internet for information on what tonight's event might entail. Here are some informative articles I found in my search:
Also, here is the library's explanation of the game, and the original game trailer: http://exhibitions.nypl.org/100/digital_fun/play_the_game.
Finally, you can read about some of the historical objects in the NYPL's new book, "Know the Past, Find the Future: The New York Public Library at 100," in which 100 public figures (politicians, actors, athletes, comedians, etc.) contributed stories about their favorite item in the library's collection.
That is all I know right now. I am both excited and nervous for tonight's event. I was happy to learn, based on a facebook group that Ms. McGongical started for Write All Night participants, that I actually know at least one of the other gamers tonight. Before the big event, I will also be meeting with two young women who needed a place to stow their stuff for the evening, as they are traveling from Montreal, QC, Canada, where they work in a game research lab at a university. The facebook group has been a great way to begin connecting with each other before we finally come together tonight. We have shared articles, discussed our jobs, favorite books, and also voted on our individual "strengths" that we can contribute tonight, such as patience, fortitude, leadership and research skills. I look forward to meeting you all and writing with you tonight!
WGINY followers, look for a "post-game" post soon.
Full "Find the Future" entry for whatsgoodinny:
By the year 2021, I will become the first person to...
create the next big wave in music and go down in history as the Queen of this new genre.
What drives you... and what strengths do you have that will help you achieve your 2021 goal?
I am extremely passionate about music in every way. I enjoy creating, listening to and performing music, as well as bringing music to my community. I currently participate in and hold an Executive Board position with a chorus whose mission it is to bring music to the community through outreach performances at venues including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, cancer and AIDS homes.
I have been singing in choruses since elementary school. In 7th Grade, I won a contest at my middle school by writing a song entitled, "Together," that addressed creating harmony in society.
I frequently compose my own lyrics and melodies. I generally write songs on my own, but in the past I have also been given "beats" by others and have composed accompanying lyrics. I am currently learning to play the ukulele so that I may better accompany myself, and I also know a few notes on various other instruments.
My musical interests are unique because, as a child, I was raised listening to mostly oldies and country music, then I began listening to rock and pop, and I have since spent much of my free time discovering independent music. I am frequently driven by my desire to expand my awareness of new music.
I am also very well accomplished professionally. Through networking I may be able to make my dreams of creating a new music genre a reality. I am currently a lawyer at a non-profit agency that advocates for children in court. During law school, I had a summer job in which I was responsible for reviewing various copyrights, trademarks and entertainment contracts. I also received the highest grade in my Copyright course during law school and won an award for this.
Finally, I enjoy blogging and bringing my knowledge about NYC to those who follow me. I began my blog, www.whatsgoodinny.blogspot.com, in January 2011, and I have already had nearly 3000 page views. I believe that I am someone whose words (and, potentially, music) can have a great and lasting impact on our society.