RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Now, to an online game that's a big hit among college students wanting to harness political power. "GoCrossCampus" has rules similar to "Risk," that board game of world domination. In this contest, students forgo the little plastic soldiers and do battle on virtual territory.
From member station WNPR in Connecticut, Diane Orson reports.
DIANE ORSON: Thousands of armed Yale students vanquished Brown's pitiful forces. The commander orders troops to gather quickly on the Massachusetts' border. Now Yale's militia invades Cambridge, humiliating Harvard in a bloody slaughter.
Mr. EMMANUEL QUARTEY (Freshman, Yale University): It's mad, it's pure madness. I'm hoping he attacks. Oh, you see?
ORSON: Nineteen-year-old Yale freshman Emmanuel Quartey studies the computer screen, feverishly attacking and seizing virtual school campuses. Students plot out strategy during Internet chats, but Quartey says they're so serious about it that they also meet in real life. The Web just isn't safe.
Mr. QUARTEY: Because of spies. You have people who say supports Team Yale, but have, for whatever reason, an affection for Harvard, for example. And so when plans are discussed in the secret Yale Team chat, they copy and paste this in an e-mail and send it to Harvard commanders.
ORSON: More than 70,000 students have played the game. Five thousand participated in the last Ivy League tournament, billed as the largest competitive event in the history of the Ivy League. Prepare for awesomeness. GoCrossCampus is the brainchild of one Columbia student and a handful of Yalees, including Brad Hargreaves.
Mr. BRAD HARGREAVES (Co-creator of GoCrossCampus): Online gaming has gotten a really bad rep. People conjure up images of the guy sitting in his mother's basement, eating a bag of Cheetos playing "World of Warcraft."
ORSON: Most video games are pretty solitary. GoCrossCampus is played on teams, so it's a collaborative social experience says co-founder Matt Brimer.
Mr. MATT BRIMER (Co-founder, GoCrossCampus): We like to think we're pioneering this kind of team-based social gaming space, bringing spirit, I would say of team sports, to the online world of gaming.
ORSON: Inc. magazine has named GoCrossCampus one of America's top ten coolest college startups. Back at his laptop in New Haven, Emmanuel Quartey's move from mere campus battles to conquering the world.
Mr. QUARTEY: I have a very little opposition (unintelligible) to sweep as many churches as I can.
ORSON: And after a quick jolt of global domination, it's back to the books.
For NPR News, I'm Diane Orson in New Haven.
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