Returning this week to the en vogue subject of serious games, we look at a hugely ambitious, humanitarian project that has been described as “the single biggest thing to happen to our community, perhaps ever.” We also cast an eye over 10 games deemed the most important ever by a committee of designers and journalists seeking to preserve gaming's heritage, and drop in on a discussion about how entertainment (and in particular interactive entertainment) can educate and change the world through innovation.
- Games Aim For Good
This is well worth a read. The $100 laptop planned to introduce gaming to children in underdeveloped countries is a fascinating project, and probably the apex of the many recent developments in serious games/games-for-good, certainly in scope and ambition. That games like Tetris and Sim City (proper games; not edutainment) are deemed such worthy cultural artefacts that they should be exported to impoverished nations is a great validation of the medium's cross-cultural appeal and potentially edifying influence.
- Is That Just Some Game? No, It’s a Cultural Artifact
It's good to see our medium's heritage receiving the same preservation treatment as others. The fast-moving story of gaming's evolution is dotted with landmark titles that are deserving of recognition and remembrance, even if new technologies and shifting genre traits obscure their influence on the games we play today. That said, the committee's choices for the 10 most important video games are a curious and contestable mix. Embarrassingly (for me), Star Raiders lies outside the bounds of my gaming knowledge, and I'm surprised that Sensible World Of Soccer made the list; though excellent and a good example of balancing sports management with sports gaming, it was more or less the swansong for top-down sports games so where its revolutionary importance lies I'm not entirely sure.
- At TED, changing the future of the world is entertainment
Though the projects discussed in this "Screenovation" talk vary, the key element the writer of the article chose to focus and conclude on was that of consumers becoming more active in their consumption of and influence on media than ever before. What is clear from Will Wright's attendance and contribution to the conference is just how trailblazing games are in this respect—both in allowing consumers to 'direct' their own entertainment and to engage with virtual systems in a way that inherently educates them on real life issues such as the ecology (in Wright's forthcoming Spore). With Sony's recently unvelied Little Big Planet bringing user-created game content to a mainstream console audience and another story this week about Square Enix getting in on the serious game action, we appear to be in the midst of a sea-change in interactive entertainment, where the potential of our medium's interactivity is breaking free from the constraints of 'mere' entertainment to become a powerful catalyst for creativity, communication and even education.
- Tetris Legend Wins Game Design Challenge
- Are Games Art? (Here We Go Again...)
- Square-Enix's Honeywood Talks Problems With The Locals
- The Top 7... PR Disasters
- Mobiles Could Out-Wii Wii