Games for change
I don’t want you to hit the Unsubscribe button though because I’ll be back with those long, raving and ranting posts I know you love so much. But to clear up my backlog of interesting stuff to share with you – here’s a great site I found that uses games to bring attention to the most pressing issues of our day, such as poverty, human rights, global conflict and climate change.
So a lot of arty geeky types, along with academics, journalists and individuals from the nonprofit and government sectors have collaborated on the site Games for Change. I’ve been dabbling with some of them because I need to design curriculum in the next few months.
There are various game channels – I really wish I had access to this sort of interactive, educative stuff when I was a teacher back in the mists of time. I particularly like the games on global conflict and human rights. They deal with real-world issues.
Check out this game – 3rd World Farmer – designed for ages 11+ years, the game lets players manage a small virtual farm in a developing country and experience the hardships and dilemmas faced by the poor.
Ars Regendi is a political game where a player can found their own State and lead it according to his or her political ideals. And Escape from Woomera is probably a very timely game for Aussies to play given the current situation with Sri Lankan refugees. The game gets players to try and escape from an immigration detention centre.
And my favourite? It’s a game called Civilization IV: Quality of Life and involves players in using their moral values to reward a society.
Given Gen Y and Millenials penchant for virtual worlds, these digital games are a fabulous way of raising social, legal and moral issues and facilitating social change. The site also has a toolkit of the game-making process and prompts you to think about the sorts of questions you need to ask if you’re thinking of designing a digital game. Cool!