Last night after a long day at work I went to visit a friend and engage in what has become this year’s craze — Guitar Hero. As someone who attempted a career as a singer/songwriter I appreciate this game and its efforts in exposing all ages to the wonders of rock music. If you have never heard of Guitar Hero or Rock Band, these games take tracks recorded by famous artists, breaks them down per instrument, and allows players to play either the guitar, bass, drums, or even sing along with the song (we’ve come a LONG way from Atari 2600, haven’t we?). Lately all my friends who are parents have this game and are quick to mention how far their child can go in the game on “expert” level. Kids these days don’t play outside after school. During the week teenagers may come home; update their status on MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter; chat on Yahoo Messenger, AOL, GoogleTalk, or MSN Messenger; and tackle their homework in between texting their friends while listening to their ipod. On the weekends the outdoor fun of skateboarding and football now have their own video games thanks to Tony Hawk and John Madden, respectively. Their attention span diminishes every time a piece of new technology, game, or software arrives. So how is a parent supposed to encourage a career in oil and gas when math is “boring” and Grand Theft Auto is “cool?” The oil and gas industry should take inspiration from Mr. Hawk and Mr. Madden and create a game that would get kids interested. Maybe have a game where two or more players can compete to see who produces more oil from a well! First the players can be in a seismic truck and shoot seismic till they find a reservoir (seismic trucks are like army tanks and kids love finding and shooting things, like Resident Evil). Once they think they have found oil, they can have a selection of technologies to use to drill and complete the well (like selecting plays on the John Madden game). Depending on the combination of choices from start to finish, their well could be a huge producer, or they could have a dry hole. Granted, that’s a very basic description, but these games nowadays are so sophisticated that there are no limitations to what combinations, tools, and scenarios can be applied. The difficulty of a level could be determined by the location. The levels could be in the desert, the mountains, shallow water, deep water — all the way till they reach the Arctic. Each level could even have its own additional challenges. For example, in the deepwater level the player could face a hurricane. The point system could be money. Success adds money to their company, using different technologies decreases money at first, then it increases again as the well produces… Just imagine how much potential knowledge of the oil and gas industry a kid will take in with a game like that! It may be a wild idea, but I’m sure someone out there thought MySpace would never take off.