It only lately occurred to me that games can be a force for good, even though I’ve been a gamer for decades, and in game business for nearly 15 years. That’s quite a glacial pace of thinking, but hey, even glaciers get there in the end. (Note to self: find out where glaciers go to hang out and why.)
Luckily, I bumped into an excellent primer on the subject. It’s a book called Power Play: How Video Games Can Save the World (2017), written by Asi Burak and Laura Parker. Burak has been leading the Games for Change organization for years, and Parker is a writer for many publications, including Wired and The New York Times.
Power Play is a very good overview on different social impact games projects from around the world, from games teaching civics in US schools, to games helping young cancer patients cope with treatments, to VR games enhancing empathy towards other people.
It also hops briefly onto a meta level by looking at if making games can help people develop themselves, and talking about games utilizing crowds for scientific research.
The book has no dramatic narrative or plot twists. Instead, it slams down the facts in a concise, well-written manner, which coincidentally was just what I was looking for. Drama I can get enough from logging into Twitter.
The Kindle version has links to all the games/projects mentioned in the ten chapters, handily available for further study – a tiny detail my lazy, but information-hungry fingers appreciate.
So, don’t be like my glacier pals and me, don’t creep around aimlessly waiting for the next ice age: get Power Play, get into social impact games, and save the world with a game. Maybe your game can help the glaciers too; They’re pretty worried about melting.