Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 2013: Social Impact Games

Last month, I attended the 10th anniversary of the Games For Change Festival in New York City. It's hard to believe 10 years have already passed since idealistic game developers came together with the idea that games could promote social change. There was so much variety at G4C13, so many different topics, and lastly, so much excitement from funders!  The National Endowment for the Arts is currently seeking worthy game projects to support, as it did for the Half the Sky Movement Facebook game.

In my book co-authored with David Michael, Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform, we discussed social impact games briefly under the category of Political or Art Games.  On GDAM, we have touched upon this topic while discussing Mature Games and Game-Based Learning.  Asi Burak, Co-President of Games for Change, even contributed to GDAM with this article on the topic of No More War Games?.

So I find it surprising that GDAM has never had a topic about social impact games.  Call them games for good, games for change, "earnest" games, serious games etc. -- these are all about games that strive to better the world and bring about social change.

As noted at G4C13, there are myriad issues of concern:  measuring impact, reaching out and finding unheard stories (much like Half the Sky Movement did), funding, accessibility, as well as design concerns.

Do you have a story to tell about social impact games?

I invite readers to submit an article on this topic.  Please read the submission guidelines first.  Thanks!


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