Are You Ready To Be Shaken Up?


Thursday Nov. 13, 2008 10:00 am PST

I am sitting at my desk listening to my latest French pop downloads, my hand reaches for the coffee mug. I feel the hot liquid splash across my arm as the mug is knocked out of my hand by a falling picture frame. The dogs are yelping and running under my desk. Dust fills the air as the plaster wall crumbles. The lights go out, or did the music stop first?

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I lurch forward grabbing the heavy desk. The windows shake and two windows shatter in the other room. Shrill sounds comes from the wooden house frame as we sway to and fro. The fish bowl is on the floor, and my little red beta flops gasping. Has it stopped yet? Am I still moving? I can't tell, all the circuits in my brain are blown. I reach down with a shaking hand and grab the fish and step over what was left of my windows to a glass of water that miraculously stayed upright. I throw in my poor little beta. I look around and think "what where who why?"

Please remain seated, this was just a simulation of a 7.8 earthquake. On Thursday Nov. 13th at 10:00 am you will be able to participate online in "The Largest Earthquake Drill in the History of the Nation".

What is After Shock?

An aftershock is an earthquake that occurs after a previous earthquake (the main shock).The game After Shock begins after the main shock, and players deal with the aftermath of the disaster. After Shock is a collaborative project from Jason Tester of the Institute for the Future and Mariana Amatullo of Design Matters/ACCD with the Interface designed by Ryan D’Orazi, a student of Art Center College of Design. After Shock is part of the key public outreach programs of the Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready project and the The Great Southern California ShakeOut.

Jason Tester explains the multi-player online game as from the moment the earthquake hits Southern California to the time life gets back to "normal". The narrative arc of After Shock follows scientific data, and creating a game around that data makes it more engaging. Players play through a simulation of life after a major earthquake via an interface that shows a map of the epicenter, stories from the front lines to uploaded images and videos .

Do you have water? Will you have to barter? Where will you live?

The power of simulation allows us to fail, and to learn what to do differently. This collaborative forecasting game offers an extended experience over 3 weeks that will give insight into long term effects of a major earthquake. Players can let their imagination fly by responding to events such as water rationing to collapsed freeways by posting their "stories". Players will rise in status by their posts and by gathering essentials along the way and also be able to rank other Player's stories, images and videos.

Not now, later.

After each earthquake in Southern California we are inundated with lists of what we will need in the next quake, but after a few weeks, we fall back into a complacency that borders on "if you don't think about it, it won't happen". We don't prepare for disasters, we prepare for events that we can control. We choose to live on flood plains, in tornado alley, and on top of faults - we live in these areas despite the possibility of disaster. But do we prepare for them? In areas where seasonal hurricanes occur there are preparations because they have forewarnings, with earthquakes there are none.

"A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down The medicine go down"

Knowing what is good for us, does not necessarily make us do it. But wrapping earthquake preparedness into an online multi-player game makes it palatable and interesting. By playing After Shock you can learn to rebuild your community and test your survival skills; and if and when a 7.8 earthquake occurs you will have those skills to help yourself and others. Multi-player online games create communities - After Shock will also create communities as well from players finding common ground through their postings. If you play online the game World of Warcraft you know fighting a Mekgineer Steamrigger in the Steamvault is fiction, but an 7.8 earthquake is real and will happen in our lifetime. Are you ready for reality? By playing After Shock you will be more prepared for that eventuality.

So are you ready to be shaken up?

Click here to register to play After Shock.

If you are also interested in attending an offline Earthquake Preparedness event:
Art Center College of Design invites you to the The Get Ready Rally, a multi-media civic event celebrating The Great Southern California ShakeOut, a historic week of earthquake preparedness activities. After Shock the interactive online game will be introduced at this rally.
The L.A. Earthquake: Get Ready Rally
Friday, November 14, 2008
4 - 9 pm

Nokia Plaza, L.A. LIVE
777 W. Chick Hearn Court, Downtown Los Angeles

Institute For The Future : After Shock

Designmatters / Art Center College of Design

The Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready
The Great Southern California ShakeOut


Mariana Amatullo, Vice President, International Initiatives/Director,
Designmatters, Art Center College of Design

Jason Tester, Research and Design Manager, the Institute for the

Sohini Sinha, Executive Producer, The Los Angeles Earthquake:
Get Ready Rally, Art Center College of Design

Ryan D’Orazi, Art Center College of Design

Daniel Frydman

Elisa Ruffino, Senior Associate Director,
International Initiatives/Producer, Designmatters,
Art Center College of Design

Mark Gibson Consulting

Sue Perry, Staff Scientist,
Multi-Hazard Demonstration Project for Southern California
United States Geological Survey

Interaction/Interface Design II, Graphic Design Department,
Art Center College of Design

Tanja Diezmann, Director Interaction / Interface Design

Student Team:
Ryan D´Orazi, Lu Chen, Ira Pietojo, Sze Wan Shum,
Ji Won Chang

Sponsored by:

State of California / Seismic Safety Commission

If you would like to read more about the emergence of an independent movement in the gaming industry, please go to KCET's web stories .

Image: Ophelia Chong

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