Games for Change

Posted: June 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

One of my favorite websites right now is Games for Change http://www.gamesforchange.org/ I don’t know if my review of this sight is very objective because I love all things gaming. But I believe that there is a great opportunity for using a computer/video game model for teaching about larger social issues. And Games for Change, through the services it offers to nonprofits and game designers, its annual designers contest and Festival, and conferences and seminars, does just that. It also offers a free toolkit that helps individuals and nonprofits outline their game ideas, learning goals and planning and implementation tools.

Games for Change Arcade – Games for Change houses over 70 games that address current social issues that have been designed by individuals, students, nonprofits and international relief agencies. The website game channels include human rights, economics, public policy, public health, poverty and environment.

Some of my favorite games:

Against All Odds: Against All Odds lets players experience what it’s like for people who have to leave their home country and start life in a new country. The game shows the difficulties navigating the international re-settlement experience. http://www.playagainstallodds.com/

Executive Command: I like this game, especially as we watch our first African American President struggle with his legacy as he deals with one economic crisis after another and military intervention in multiple countries. This game gives you the opportunity to try your hand at being President, with all the power and pitfalls. http://www.filamentgames.com/node/463

InterroBang?!: I really like this game because it gives students around the world the a real mission to accomplish. Their participation in this problem-solving game can lead to winning prizes and challenges them to make positive improvements in their communities. http://playinterrobang.com/

World Food Programme Games – As an international social justice organization, World Food Programme has been in the forefront of using games to increase awareness of hunger throughout the world. One of the first games I became aware of was Free Rice. In this game, with every quiz question you answer correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to fight hunger. Other games are also available for students and teachers to learn more about the issues of hunger. http://www.wfp.org/students-and-teachers/students/fun-and-learn

 

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Comments
  1. This is fascinating! As an EFL teacher in South Africa, I am often challenged to find new ways to get young adults interested in social issues in Africa and the developing world. This would be a great way to get them involved “in their own language” so to speak. They are mostly very tech savvy and not very conscious of social responsibility. Thank you for sharing this!

    • internetmine says:

      What I really like about Games for Change is their gaming toolkit. You could use it in your class as an assignment to get kids to plan a game as part of what you are studying. Its more of a thinking exercise towards the actual game design. But wouldn’t it be something if you could find someone to design prototypes for them.

  2. Cayman Thorn says:

    Wow, what a novel concept. Constructive video games.

  3. It will be harder to get mad at my kids if they play these video games for too long.

    • internetmine says:

      Just be careful…these games will might make your kids a little “too aware.” I rue the day mine learned about recycling and became the recycling police digging through my trash.

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