Most parents are aware that games can be used as educational tools, but many still don’t realize that games are instruments for promoting social responsibility, empathy, and justice.
These important aspects of games are nurtured by a great organization called Games for Change (G4C). Every year G4C produces a conference called the Games for Change Festival. All the big players in the games-for-change world gather to further an awesome misson: “facilitating the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.”
Wednesday night was the awards ceremony, and here are the three winners:
Gone Home won Game of the Year.
We’ve written about why this game deserves a place in high school curricula. The short answer is that Gone Home is a great example of empathy-inducing, emotional storytelling in games. You play as a teenager who returns home to find her family missing, and you must find out what happened to them. Powerful themes of loss, depression, and identity infuse the story.
Papers, Please was named the Most Innovative game.
Papers, Please casts you as an unnamed immigration agent. You decide who gets out of a war zone and into your safe haven. The game has won kudos for its visual design and its gameplay. You’re meant to feel ambivalent as you protect your border (and keep your job) by deciding which desperate would-be immigrants to let in or turn away.
The Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey was named Most Impactful game.
Mission US is a multimedia project featuring free interactive adventure games set in various times in U.S. history. A Cheyenne Odyssey has you play as a Cheyenne boy in 1866. You make choices about fighting, moving, and managing resources that help you learn how everyday life in a tribe was affected by White expansion into the West.
The Games for Change Awards drew 140 game nominations, which were narrowed down by a panel of experts in game development, media, education and philanthropy.