Are there “good” and “bad” games for change?

Earlier this week, a message was sent to our Games for Change Google Group that stirred our community. The seemingly harmless post entitled, “Best Practices for Marketing Games” was a simple inquiry about how to best promote a game that explores careers in the nuclear energy industry. However the opening response sparked a dialogue that moved past the initial subject matter and turned the post into a broader discussion around ethics, politics, and more.

For those not involved with the conversation, we wanted to share one of our community members’ analysis of the discussion. The following quote comes from Jorge Albor (@JAlbor), a writer for the blog Experience Points:

“How do we decide whether a ‘game for change’ promotes positive change? We could firmly deride a game that encourages young kids to abuse drugs, but such clean-cut examples do not exist. As games become increasingly employed as educational and persuasive tools, games with politically diverse and even contradictory themes will arise. Objectively qualifying and separating each and every serious game into positive and negative camps is a futile task.

Games can both educate and indoctrinate. Indeed, we imbue all our cultural constructions with our own personal beliefs and ideologies, both intentionally and unintentionally. As one G4C member astutely pointed out, ‘education is a political act.’ The difference between persuasion and propaganda is a thin line, particularly when it comes to digital systems, that can all too easily hide their intent behind a shroud of ‘fun.'”

We encourage you to read his the rest of Jorge’s post and jump into the conversation if you have something to add. Feel free to share this post with your community to hear their thoughts and let us know what you think in the comments below.

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