Games4Change. Day 3

The Games for Change Festival is coming to an end. I have travelled a couple of thousand kilometres, spend three valuable working days and pushed my annual expenditure budget to take part in this event. The big question is then was it all worth it? Am I going home with something that I would otherwise not have been able to obtain?

My answer is yes. I have learned many things, on many different levels. Even though learning is a complex process, I will point out ten reasons that made it worthwhile. Reasons that might give you a reason for going next year your self.

1/ Names of new people doing interesting work worth following – like Jesse Schell and Scott Rigby

2/ New terms – like transition game. Maybe not revolutionising our way of thinking about game, but adding an interesting twist. Just like lime in a gin tonic.

3/ New research on the good deeds of gaming – Jane McGonigal has collected a lot of research articles that under pins her arguments. We could all have found it our selves, but now we just need to tap in and learn. I am so grateful.

4/ Experiencing Professor James Paul Gee’s tour de force through 31 points that he thinks a GOOD social impact game should be able to do (I will share the 31 points with you in another post).

5/ I have learned to what extend USA government – federal and local – is interested in and already trying to tap into gaming as a resource for civic learning and engagement. Inspiring. We have to level up in Denmark.

6/ Giving me an understanding of how unique games like Urgent Evoke, World without Oil and Participatory Chinatown still are. I have experienced and heard about a lot of games for change at the festival, but none of them have been aiming at transforming gamers into social innovators in the way that the mentioned games have.

7/ Hearing Scott Rigby say, that FUN doesn’t create engagement, but NEED satisfaction (our need for feeling autonomous, competent and related) does. Interesting to think about and do more literature research on.

8/ Jesse Schell’s 7/11 points about what games are bad at and what games are good at. He told a very honest story drawing on his experience as a game developer. The points were simple but intelligent and they enable us to use gaming in the situations when it makes sense and makes a difference (see an earlier post about his 7/11 points).

9/ I have experienced that there is a big international – although dominated by the US – community of practioners and researcher interested in and working with social impact games.

10/ I have played some of the nominated games for the Games4Change awards. Awesome stuff. Take a look at ‘Fibber’ and ‘Spent’. I think they are good examples of how to get players to do some critical thinking about the political and social reality we are immersed in.


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