Leading up to our 9th annual festival, we’re sitting down with some of our nominees for the Games for Change Awards. Previously, we spoke to Paolo Pedercini of molleindustria about his game and how he really feels about the Gaming industry.
Now, we’re chatting with Ralph Vacca from seekchange.org. Their Knight News Game Award-nominated game, Fibber – A Game About Political Deception, lets players engage in a “political strip guessing game” where they are asked to determine whether things said by presidential candidates Barack Obama or Mitt Romney are fact or fib, and to share their findings.
Games for Change: Thanks for talking with us, Ralph. Tell us what motivates you in developing games for social impact?
Ralph Vacca: I remember playing multi-player Tetris on my Gameboy with a kid I never could get along with and finding common ground for the first time. I remember playing freeze tag and being able to finally not freeze (pun intended) when talking with a girl I had a crush on.
For me, games are inherently art forms that are meant to play a social role. Why not design games that focus on helping us understand ourselves and how we’re all connected? It was either that or build robots, but I figured games won’t eventually rise up and take over the world. At least I don’t think so…
G4C: Well, if Tron has taught us anything, you could very well be wrong. So, I guess we can count Tetris as an influence, but who are some of your other influences?
RV: Teachers. Social workers. Parents.
I’m influenced by a shared fascination with learning as a process of looking inward, believing we can all benefit from understanding ourselves so we can better understand the role we feel compelled to play. Put that in the mix with the influence from folks like Monty Python and Mel Brooks, I guess you end up with a way of looking at ourselves – our desires, flaws, and awesomeness – that is funny as much as profound.
Screen shot from Fibber
G4C: You have to be able to laugh at yourself, right? You have such a unique approach. What do you think makes your fans unique?
RV: It’s hard to say. I was once on the NYC subway and I saw this older guy sitting near the subway door and this other younger guy leaning next to the older guy sitting. The guy standing had his coat all up in the old guy’s face and his umbrella was dripping all over the older fellow. I looked around and it was clear we were all witnessing what was happening.
To me, it seemed we were all wondering why the old guy didn’t say anything. Finally some lady let the guy standing know about his coat and umbrella and he apologized and adjusted accordingly. I guess our audience is that lady. Folks that believe in the power of self-awareness.
G4C: Awesome! Well, thanks for talking with us.
Last year’s festival had over 800 attendees and this year, we want you to be one of those attendees. Don’t get sold out!
Register NOW: http://gamesforchange.org/festival2012/attend/