Thursday, May 22, 2008

socially aware gaming, cat fights and such... [PLEASE COMMENT]

Social impact gaming just might be the way to reach upcoming generations who have been brought up on the X-box, PSP, or Nintendo DS. Nowadays, gaming begins when you’re a toddler, with the creation of games and gaming systems like “Leapfrog”, young children are learning to read, write, and spell on these digital systems. It makes sense that people who are aware of this growing trend, would try to capitalize on it for the advancement of social and economic justice. Games are something that no one really ever grows out of, and free gaming on the web allows groups to target a wide variety of audiences. Instead of games being mindless for of entertainment there is actually a purpose and message that is relevant to current events.

Out of curiosity I followed a link from social impact games (.com) to see exactly how people were using these games to educate and entertain. I visited and it was sort of weird to know that I am playing a game that is someone in Africa’s reality everyday. Even though I knew that what was happening to my character wasn’t real (being caught by refugees and being placed in a camp) it was disturbing to think that young women and children are often caught by these military extremists and raped, kidnapped, and/or murdered. Another really profound gaming software program that I found was one that focused on finding a solution of peace for Palestine and Israel. I mean, that is a HUGE issue! And now nearly everyone has the ability to play a game that allows them to have a hand in resolving this historical conflict.

If I were to create a game that would embody the vision I have for my final project, I would create some sort of game aimed at young women (ages 17-22) that directs them away from materialism and encourages sisterhood, ambition, solidarity and intellect over the body-obsessed, self-criticizing and increasing materialistic media. There is nothing out there that screams “GIRL POWER” (not so cheesy though!) and encourages a do-it-yourself attitude for females in my age group. I would also want my game to have some sort of international aspect….maybe the characters could be from different countries or you can select which country you want to play in and from that there are certain rules and regulations etc. Now I have no idea what the actual game might be. But I am open for suggestions [[ comment please ]]

Possibly some sort of uber materialism and superficiality—like having a character which you have to “make-up” and then the whole objective is to find a boyfriend, have the most friends, money, and stylish clothes and become a “star”. The way that you would do all of this is by 1.) stealing other girls’ friends 2.) spreading rumors that make your character look better or make someone else look worse 3.) stealing boyfriends and the other usual cattiness and passivity associated with teenage girls. Doing all of these things would allot you “popularity points” .

I hope you can see what I’m getting at. Any suggestions?

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