Online game seeks to empower Africa

(CNN) — Some people think of online gamers and see gaunt loners huddled in dark rooms, the sad blue glow of the computer screen on their faces as their lives pass them by.

Game designer Jane McGonigal sees “superheroes” with untapped potential that can be used to fix vexing real-world problems.

“Gamers are willing to work hard all the time if they’re given the right work,” she said. She calls them “super-empowered, hopeful individuals,” and includes herself among the bunch.

McGonigal’s latest online game, called “Urgent Evoke,” launches on Wednesday. With it, she hopes to channel the obsessive focus online games create into something more productive than conquering monsters and earning virtual weapons.

She wants to push people in Africa — a long-troubled continent where people might feel less empowered than elsewhere — to solve problems like environmental degradation, lack of food, water scarcity, poverty and violence. Read more.

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