Video games have come into their own when it comes to alerting people to social and environmental problems. There are some fantastic games out there, and more are on their way.
While its detractors have long maintained that it is at best a waste of time and at worst downright corrupting, in reality, the world of video games has a lot to offer. People around the world, both players and developers, have woken up to the real value that video games can have in bringing about a positive change in the world. Coupled with social media and the easy availability of downloadable games, a world of potential has been opened up.
Already, we’ve seen a number of collaborations between games developers and socially conscious organisations. Murka, the development company co-founded by Max Polyakov, teamed up with National Geographic to produce WILD. The game at once draws attention to environmental issues and also helps raise actual funds for preservation. And Manhattan the Game is a powerful educational game that gives players a serious understanding of balancing ecosystems. Both games help connect players to the world around them, providing an important connection to the ecosystem we need to preserve. Among other activities of Max Polyakov (Макс Поляков), there is a collaboration with EOS to create its new platform.
And when it comes to straight forward calls to action, video games are uniquely placed to connect with players on a daily basis. Thanks to social media and the internet, many players are constantly checking in to see progress and find out what new opportunities are available. FarmVille took advantage of this opportunity to urge players to consider donating to the disaster relief operation in Haiti. The results were generous and demonstrated that with the correct prompts, people are more than happy to make a difference.
Thankfully, the general position on video games has shifted enough that serious organisations are happy to fund these serious campaigns. Games for Change has been supporting the development of games that deal with genuine social concerns for years. By collaborating with major organisations such as NASA and the UN, they are uniquely placed to put together social initiatives that have real potential for good in the world. These are just a few of the ventures exploring the exciting world of raising awareness in video games. We have no doubt that we can expect to see many more in the future.