Week 9 : Brett Harmon

This week Games for a Change is something that really stood out to me for several reasons.  Firstly it is because I am a self identified gamer, I am one of the people who the site talks about that grew up on video games and traditional games.  To see games being able to be used in ways that are poitivitly uplifting to bring about some kind of social awareness and change is something that means a lot to me.  Often times video games are one of the first things pointed at, mainly the violent and war games, when something awful happens.  I for one have logged more hours than I care to admit in a public setting with games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty and I like to think I’m perfectly well adjusted.  In addition the Games for a Change organization is putting forward something that is often unseen by many and that is the charitable side of gaming.  I have seen and been a part of several, food drives, toy drives, and general charitable drive though gaming than most people see.  For an idea look at this image of what local Portland computer gamers raised this year.

Getting off my soapbox I wanted to look at the aspect of Games for a Change from a digital content perspective.  What is interesting and useful about Games for a Change is that it is going about informing about a subject in a way that can be round about and not making the audience realize that they are learning.  Now not all of the games are subtle like that  take Darfur Is Dying for example it outright states that it is informing about the issues in the region and the game is a vehicle to inform about them.  What using games in this style is good for is that it is one of the only mediums that allows the audience to be put into the perspective of the subject.  In Darfur is Dying you play the role of someone who lives in a refugee camp dodging the militias.  That is something that is not easily achieved in other mediums.

This is something that we as digital content producers need to remember.  That the most traditional way of passing on information is not always the most effective.  By making the information have to be earned in a way making the audience crave a way to get that information and consume it.

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2 comments to Week 9 : Brett Harmon

  • kpokrass@uoregon.edu

    Thanks for sharing the piece about the Portland gamers. Its too bad that the Portland news stations passed on a great opportunity to show the charitable side of gaming. I thought it would have made a very interesting piece. As for the Games for a Change site, it seems to help redefine the misconception or stereotype about the gaming community.

  • delyser@uoregon.edu

    Let’s face it: Games are fun. Games that make learning to read fun, for example, have been around for a long time. Using games for educational purposes doesn’t have to stop with elementary school. If a game can educate people about social justice and other issues, I think that’s definitely a positive.

    On a related note, both my husband and I have become Lumosity addicts. Answer a few questions and the Lumosity app will customize a series of games for you that “Improve your brain health and performance with brain games designed by neuroscientists to exercise memory and attention.” I don’t know how much healthier my brain is, but I do know that my husband and I have fun playing the games every day and comparing our results. Three of the five daily Lumosity games are free; to get the other two and public metrics, you have to pay a monthly subscription. I recommend it!

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