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Report Examines Games For Social Change

A new report by GlobeandMail.com has investigated serious games that serve as tools for social change by informing players about global issues, focusing on t
A new report by GlobeandMail.com has investigated serious games that serve as tools for social change by informing players about global issues, focusing on the Games for Change conference, also covered by Serious Games Source. At the recent Games for Change annual conference held in New York's Parsons The New School for Design, representatives from academic, activist, non-profit organizations were called upon to examine the impact of current games, evaluations planned and the preliminary work to build the field. At the conference, experts in the area of using digital games to address pressing issues examined the impact of current games and preliminary work to build the field. The event also featured keynote addresses by Steven Johnson, author of noted bestseller "Everything Bad is Good for You", and Bob Kerrey, The New School president. The report highlighted several games that were shown and discussed at the event, including the public diplomacy game Peacemaker, where Isreali and Palestinian youth play together, and Darfur is Dying, a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. While the video games and real social and political issues may be seen by some as an odd combination, the conference, now in its third year, aimed at bringing together experts who are making efforts at leveraging off of the popularity of interactive media. "What better medium to tap into social networks?" noted Susana Ruiz, the creator of Darfur is Dying. "What better medium to bridge distances, and ideologies? It just makes perfect sense to me." Andreas Ua'Siaghail, co-creator of the serious game called Pax Warrior which is based upon the events in Rwanda, also noted in the report that games created for social change, while an impossibility just a few years ago, is very much a reality today. "People's ideas about what games or game-based learning might entail is actually much broader than it was even five years ago," he commented. "A lot of people understand that this is a great way to engage kids, and to help people understand particular situations." You can read more in the full report, as well as in our three exclusive features on games created for social change written from the Games for Change conference itself.

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