Games for Change is opening the doors to their annual festival celebrating games’ potential for inspiring real, tangible change. The festival will see just how games influence developments in education, healthcare, social issues, and research with an additional day devoted to all things virtual reality! Every year the organisation also sets the stage for some of the most influential games in these areas, and 2017 will see heavy competition as some truly ingenious games go head to head to be crowned Game of the Year at the 14th Annual 2017 Games for Change Awards.
Gaming industry leaders will be judging the finalists in their respective categories while every game will be put forward for the Games for Change Awards Game of the Year award. To win the top honor, the winning title will have to exemplify every category up for awards overall. So, let’s get straight into the categories and their nominations.
The Education Edition of the indie open world sandbox that took the world by storm has been targeted toward traditional classroom environments. Students use the program to explore their own creativity and develop important problem solving and social skills. The version of the game features a design to make Minecraft more accessible and effective within the classroom setting, adding an in-game camera and extra security settings.
Sea Hero Quest
Sea Hero Quest sees you navigate the open seas, avoiding dangers and collecting photographs of sea monsters in order to save your father’s memories. What sets this game apart from other quick fix mobile releases, however, is what it does with the data collected.
Your navigational skills are charted, and cross referenced with your age and gender to contribute to global research in spatial navigation. Following developments in dementia research that link these navigation skills to the likelihood of the disease, Sea Hero Quest was developed to collect large scale data. Each minute of gameplay can generate the same data as hours of research, and considering the amount of players currently signed up to the game, the potential for this title is astounding.
An educational ARG developed to combine historical education with present day social issues, Tracking Ida was first piloted this year in Watts. The journalism of Ida B Wells inspired the videogame, and players are tasked with discovering the details of Wells’ own crusade against lynching by unlocking archives within the game and solving puzzles, spreading awareness by introducing players to the process and power of media while also highlighting social injustice issues prevalent today.
Epistory – Typing Chronicles
In an origami world, a young girl rides a giant fox in a battle against a horde of pesky insects. This atmospheric action adventure title sees the world around you literally unfold with the storyline, as the power of language itself is revealed.
Staying true to its name, Everything is a simulation system in which the entire universe can be recreated or altered. Designed to highlight the amazing explosion of life and growth occurring all around us, and throughout the history of our species, you are in charge of this reality from its smallest insect to its largest galaxy.
A single character’s consciousness is portrayed through cinema, games, and literature in this introspective experience seeking to reimagine how we interact with stories, and pry. Moving seamlessly through these different mediums, each with their own distinct impressions, allows the player to delve into the character’s many levels of consciousness in an eye opening exercise in understanding.
Most Significant Impact
Liyla and the Shadow of War
Based on actual events of the Gaza war, this game takes players through the story of a little girl living in the warzone during its most dangerous period of 2014.
Walden, A Game
The life and times of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau is explored in this first person simulation of self-reliant living. Players are tasked with balancing their own survival needs while connecting with the sublime during their journey through the forest.
Minecraft:Education Edition returns in this category due to its widespread application in classrooms. Educators have been able to purchase the application for a little while now, and so far its impressive new features have yielded intriguing results.
Best Learning Game
1979 Revolution: Black Friday
Survive the dangerous streets of Iran during the late 1970s in this choice driven narrative title. Players play the role of Reza, a young photojournalist capturing images of the warzone and navigate the life and death decisions that lurk around every corner.
Dragonbox BIG Numbers
This children’s game aims to teach kids the art of ‘big numbers’! Long addition and subtraction are taught through the dynamic and diverse world of the Nooms, as players develop key skills in strategic thinking and resource management.
At Play In The Cosmos
One of the biggest potential uses for videogames in the classroom is to show students elements of the world that cannot easily be explained without tangible demonstration. At Play In The Cosmos provides students an in depth journey through space, where players are tasked with building their own understanding of the universe itself through the tools real astronomers use and the laws of science they adhere to.
The awards ceremony will take place Monday July 31st, so we’ve not got long to wait for the big reveal! More information can be found on the Games for Change official website.