PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

G4C’s top 5 social impact games of 2010

Having mentioned the Games for Change contest to selected the top social impact games for 2010 last month, we’ve been a bit slow in posting the results. Well, here they are, and the winner is… Evoke:

It was interesting to see that a game that promotes real-world action and breaks the boundaries of the digital space comes away with the most votes. Supported by the World Bank and designed by Jane McGonigal, this 10 week long game started in March, 2010 and ended on May 12th.

Evoke urged players all over the globe to solve real-world challenges with a focus on helping communities in Africa. Players were encouraged to learn about development challenges, act upon the knowledge they just gained and then use their creativity to imagine a new future for the planet. Every Wednesday over the 10 week game period, new challenges unlocked for players.  Once players accepted and completed a mission, they were asked to create evidence for their work, via blogs, videos and more. Through the narrative of a comic book like story line, players were tasked to complete such challenges as combating world hunger, using renewable energy, empowering women and creating better access to clean water. To better accomplish their goals, players could use “super powers” such as collaboration, courage, resourcefulness and entrepreneurialism.

We weren’t too fond of Evoke, as readers may remember—but congratulations nonetheless.

On a different but related note, the online game Inside Disaster (about survival, humanitarian relief, and media coverage of the Haitian earthquake) didn’t place in the top ten in the competition. I’ve used it as part of my course on peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction this term, however, and I have to say that student reaction has been very positive indeed. Of course, some of the lessons of the game might not accord with the dominant ethos of much of the games for change community, which might explain why it didn’t place higher.

For those of you teaching on issues of development or humanitarian relief operations, it is well worth checking out.

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