World Game, sometimes called the World Peace Game, is an educational simulation developed by Buckminster Fuller in 1961 to help create solutions to overpopulation and the uneven distribution of global resources. This alternative to war games uses Fuller's Dymaxion map and requires a group of players to cooperatively solve a set of metaphorical scenarios, thus challenging the dominant nation-state perspective with a more wholistic "total world" view. The idea was to "make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological damage or disadvantage to anyone", thus increasing the quality of life for all people.
History and use
Fuller first publicly proposed the concept as the core curriculum at the (then new) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He proposed it again in 1964 for the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, Quebec.
In a preamble to World Game documents released in 1970, Fuller identified it very closely with his 'Guinea Pig 'B' experiment' and his 'Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science' lifework. He claimed intellectual property rights as well to control what he considered to be misapplication of his idea by others. He also claimed he had been playing it 'longhand' without the assistance of computers since 1927.
In 1980, the World Game Institute and the World Resources Inventory published the World Energy Data Sheet. The World Energy Data Sheet compiled a nation by nation summary of energy production, resources, and consumption. The information was compiled in tables and map formats. The project was researched by Seth Snyder and overseen by Medard Gabel. The work was used during a World Game (Philadelphia, summer 1980).
By 1993, the World Game Institute developed and sold an educational software package called Global Recall, which contained global data, maps, an encyclopedia of world problems, and tools for developing solutions to world problems. The package was a computer-based simulation game intended for use by high school and college students in learning about world problems and how to solve them.
In 2001, a for-profit educational company named o.s. Earth, Inc. purchased the principal assets of the World Game Institute and has been offering a Global Simulation Workshop that is a 'direct descendant of Buckminster Fuller's famous World Game.'
In 2010, filmmaker Chris Farina released his documentary on a different simulation game entitled "World Peace...and Other 4th-Grade Achievements." The film follows the life of 4th-grade teacher John Hunter and his utilization of what he calls "The World Peace" game in his classroom. He created his simulation independently of Fuller's game or the o.s. Earth, Inc. version of it. According to Hunter, "I had not heard of Buckminster Fuller's Game at all until many years later! I had read one of his books though, The Benign Planet, and was thrilled by its vision. That might have been an unconscious influence." In Hunter's version, despite the challenge and complexity of the game, nine- and 10-year old students are able to win it and "achieve world peace". The documentary was shown at the 2011 South by Southwest Music and Film Festival and has won audience awards at various international film festivals. John Hunter was invited to speak on his World Peace Game at the 2011 TED Talks. The film was aired on PBS in May 2012.
- "World Game". Buckminster Fuller Institute. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- World Game article at the Buckminster Fuller Institute Website
- Vitez, Michael (May 20, 1993). "Software Provides Opportunity To Think Globally The World Game Institute Has Put Its Ideas On Computer Disk". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- o.s.Earth Inc.
- direct quote from John Hunter
- World Peace Game Foundation
- TED Community: John Hunter
- John Hunter: Teaching with the World Peace Game | Video on TED.com
- World Game Series: Document One
- Global Simulation Workshop (Commercial)
- Buckminster Fuller Challenge
- Global Energy Network Institute
- An interview article with some statements by Bucky about The World Game
- Chu, Hsiao-Yun and Roberto Trujillo. New Views on R. Buckminster Fuller. (Stanford, CA; Stanford University Press, 2009) ISBN 0-8047-6279-1