Today I’d like to take a moment to discuss one of the new services Games for Change has begun providing this year. Along with our continued involvement in the production of the Half The Sky transmedia project, we are advising a few other organizations that are committed to support or craft their own games for social impact. We are excited to help those making their first steps in this emerging space. Games for Change is confident that this new direction will not only assist the specific organizations working with us, but will push forward our sector by streamlining public RFPs (requests for proposals) for developers, allowing us to share knowledge and lessons learned, and hopefully establishing high-quality and detailed case studies.
Two weeks ago, Asi Burak and I ventured to Washington, DC to meet with the World Bank Learning Institute for a two day gaming strategy session. We met with three different World Bank teams hoping to guide the development of “games for change” in three different areas of international development. We spent much of our time with World Bank content experts, working together to frame the game projects and their objectives. In this post, I’d like to talk about how we utilize the 8 Step Methodology that was developed by Games for Change and Alan Gershenfeld of E-Line Media (who is also on our Advisory Board).
The methodology is a tool designed to assist individuals and organizations in framing their goals and making critical decisions on their way to create a game that is engaging, impactful and financially sustainable. This process forces you to step back and think strategically about your project. Instead of jumping into game design or coming up with a creative solution right away, your team focuses on answering some key questions around the audience, context of the game (where and when is it played) and its impact / learning objectives.
By narrowing down and making some hard decisions, it is easier to move into the next steps and identify the technology / gaming platform, estimate timeline and budgets and select the most appropriate game studio to design and execute the project. The methodology also puts strong emphasize on impact assessment, as a discipline that should be integrated into the project from a very early stage (and not only upon completion).
With our ongoing support, we hope that organizations like the World Bank Learning Institute will refine their gaming strategy, and be able to distribute rich and competitive RFPs in a public manner. We believe that not all organizations need to be experts in game making or “speak” the language of game design. The methodology is a framework that if used well can help these organizations to take charge of their project, and successfully communicate their needs and goals to game studios. When the constraints are defined and there is crisp and clear focus, there is better chance to develop a successful game product or service.
We will keep you up to date on any news concerning our work on this project and others. As much as we’d like to help organizations in navigating this space we are also highly interested in sharing the knowledge and outcomes – what was done right and what mistakes we could all avoid in future projects.