Taking Games for Good to a New Level

Idit Harel Caperton (@idit) in SSIR: “Last month’s Games for Change Festival (G4C) celebrated the promising power of video games to yield social change. The event, now in its tenth year, brings game developers, educators, NGOs, and government agencies to New York City to discuss and promote the creation of social-issue games in an industry with a global market of $67 billion, projected to reach $82 billion by 2017. Big numbers like this prove that the gaming industry has engaged the masses, and G4C wants to push this engagement toward social learning and positive action.
It’s already happening on a small scale. The Games for Change Awards, announced annually at the festival, recognizes effective mission-driven games. This year’s winning games included “Data Dealer,” which raises awareness around personal data and online privacy, and “Quandary,” where players are social pioneers facing decisions that challenge their moral compass. These and other games endorsed at G4C achieve a blend of social influence and technical innovation through engaging gameplay.
G4C has also aligned with larger social impact movements, proving that video games can be vehicles for positive global action through game mechanics. Half the Sky Movement is a transmedia campaign working against the oppression of women worldwide; it includes a book, film, and game. The game, produced by G4C and available for free on Facebook, features game tasks that transfer to real-world donations and social action opportunities. Since launching in March, “Half the Sky Movement: The Game” has raised nearly $350,000 to empower women worldwide. Yet, social issue games production still resides on the edge of the gaming industry. …”