The Make-A-Wish Foundation, one of the greatest humanitarian initiatives on the planet, has always been highly regarded for the life-changing work they do. This time though, the organization has truly outdone itself, and it has used the gaming mechanism of role-play to make a touch-warming impact on the life of 5 year old Miles Scott.
Miles, who has been fighting leukemia for years, and who is now in remission, was granted his wish to be Batman for a day. This was no easy task to orchestrate and required the support of thousands of people, and pretty much the entire city of San Francisco. On Friday, November 15th, thinking he was in San Francisco to get a Batman costume, Miles took to the streets along with the caped crusader and was able to complete various Batman related tasks.
‘Batkid’ began his day by being called into action by Greg Suhr, the city’s Chief of Police, in order to help fight crime. In the span of his adventures around town, Batman was able to rescue a woman from cable car tracks, capture the Riddler in the act of robbing a bank, and rescue the SF Giants mascot Lou Seal, who had been kidnapped by the Penguin.
Batkid supporters were along every step of the way, from lining the streets to see his Batman emblazoned Lamborghini, to chanting ‘bat kid, bat kid’ as Miles accomplished each of his tasks. Once all of the criminals were captured, and Batkid had restored justice to the city of San Francisco, he was awarded a key to the city by the mayor.
Batkid received an immense amout of support, but not only from residents of San Fran. On a national scale, the White House sent out a Tweet encouraging Batkid to “Go get ’em!”, while images, vines, memes, and tweets regarding Batkid circulated the globe.
The story of Batkid is one of pure awesomeness, and it was all made possible through role-play. While talking too much about research would take away from this amazing story, I think it should be noted that turning San Francisco in Gotham was, in essence an engaging gamified procedure. If the utilization of a game mechanic can change a city, and more importantly, a child’s life, than there is definitely something behind the use of these methods in the market research industry.
As I said, I don’t want to let my inner researcher get the better of this story, I just wanted to show that the potential to use game mechanics and dynamics is vast and far reaching. I’m sure that Miles had a day he will never forget.
Batkid, you’re my hero!