Al Gore getting into climate change games?

After keynoting this year’s Games for Change conference, Al Gore has been rather quiet about whether his Climate Reality Project was going to start adding games to its arsenal of change agents. Well, it seems the effort was in stealth mode, and they’re getting ready to go public.

Read my former colleague Nicole Haber’s blog entry wondering what the “gold coin” is to motivate a change in our national dialogue about climate change: If the earth is our princess, what is your gold coin?

Games for Change Boston – workshop wrapup

Games for Change - BostonAt this year’s Independent Game Conference – East, the Boston chapter of Games for Change ran a prototyping workshop with some 30 conference participants. The goal: brainstorm game concepts addressing one of the three issues targeted by our three participating nonprofits: Teach for America, Mercy Corps, and the Boston Foundation‘s youth violence initiative. Participants generated a wide range of concepts ranging from learning puzzles to augmented reality and game design challenges. Just as interesting, goals ranged from educating players to fostering community to shaping real-world behaviors.

For our next act, Boston Games for Change will host a gamejam to move one or more of these basic concepts into a working prototype. In the meantime, we’ll be representing at the 6th Annual Games for Change Festival in New York, May 27-29. Register now!

Boston Games for Change workshop at IGDC-East this Thursday

Independent Games Conference East
Boston is proud to be hosting this year’s Independent Games Conference-East, and the Boston chapter of Games for Change is running a special workshop, “Change the World with Games.” The workshop brings together NGO leaders and game developers to discuss and take action on games for social change:

Non-Profit Organizations could be using games to communicate their mission fast, far, and wide. This workshop aims to demonstrate the potential of games to inform and motivate a wide audience. Attendees will work in small groups, directly with NPOs, to design mission-based games. Representatives from three local NPOs will be on hand to explain their missions and participate in the brainstorming. Attendees will choose one of the three missions as the theme for their design challenge, and work collaboratively over 45 minutes to design and share ideas. Game design experience is not necessary. Creativity is!

Register for IGDC now.
Use these discount codes:

  • VIP: IGCEVIP09 10% OFF

New Honda Insight gamier than ever

According to the New York Times, the redesigned Honda Insight offers a built-in ecology game:

Honda has loaded it with an array of gauges and displays intended to coach drivers to be more economical. For instance, the speedometer’s background color changes from blue to green as one’s driving becomes “more environmentally responsible.” Readouts reward the frugal driver with an “eco score”; if you excel, you win a digital trophy surrounded by a wreath.

The author and his colleagues all found that they beat the EPA measures, probably because of the electronic coaching. How’s that for a “game for change” that might actually really change the world? Just keep your eyes on the road and watch out for cyclists, Insight drivers!

Newsweek on morality in video games

I missed this article from a month ago: Videogames with a Social Conscience. It paints with the broad strokes you’d expect from a national general-interest publication, but it does zoom in on one title, Far Cry 2:

But just as soon as the game begins, the protagonist contracts malaria. The player must then choose whether to work with one faction or the other, or with the local church, to get the medication he needs. Conditions in the country continue to deteriorate over the course of the game. The sniper rifle is still the most fun part of playing, and the moral questions of right and wrong are not exactly central, but they’re there.

The piece then skips on to the marquis Game for Change, Peacemaker, which is a shame because there’s a lot more that could have been said about the diversification of first-person shooters into areas of moral complexity.