Games for Change Inc., has compiled a great list of serious games that fall into three categories. These serious games are evaluated on their gameplay, their level of innovation, and the degree of impact the game had on its target market. I’ve picked out a game from each of these categories that has won an award in each respective area. At Skyless we firmly believe in learning from these games that have been recognized for their excellence in this field.
An award for best gameplay serious game went to Papers, Please, a “dystopian document thriller” developed by Lucas Pope in which the player controls an immigration officer in Arstotzka, a fictional country set in the year 1982. While the focus of the game is to process immigrants, the amount the player processes in a day directly affects how much the player character gets paid, and therefore how much they can provide for their own family. A unique balance of border security and family needs is struck, letting the human element shine through. Papers, Please is a strong example of how new elements and experiences can be applied to gaming, and is included in the Games for Change Festival Hall of Fame due to its gameplay and innovation.
Súbete al SITP
Súbete al SITP is a public transportation based game, created to teach users how to navigate the complex transit system of Columbia’s capital city, Bogotá. Players transport characters around the city, paying for transit with a prepaid pass. The game serves its purpose by teaching players how to maneuver the newly implemented SITP (Integrated Public Transport System). “With more than 5,000 active players, Súbete al SITP helped the city get up to speed by teaching players how to get around.” Identifying a real life problem and innovating an interactive solution to solve it is the basis for many serious games, and landed Súbete al SITP an award for their level of innovation.
The Migrant Trail
The Migrant Trail is a serious simulation game developed by Gigantic Mechanic that explores the trials and tribulations of migrants and U.S. Border Patrol agents. The player can take control of various individuals from either group and will be made familiar with the character’s backstory and motivations. When both viewpoints and sides are played through, the two experiences compliment each other and provide the player with a sense of empathy for characters of all positions.
The issue of illegal immigration in the United States of America has been a topic of focus for quite some time now. While the politics of the matter tend to dehumanize the issue, The Migrant Trail brings back the human element and allows players to connect with individual stories and motivations. Due to the message that the game delivers and the effectiveness of its delivery, The Migrant Trail was awarded for its degree of impact on its target market.
As we continue to develop serious games, Skyless Games Studios strives to be continually aware of other emerging successes. It’s refreshing to see other games innovate and discover new ways to solve the world’s problems. Successful serious games are always an inspiration to us and as more serious games begin to get traction we continue to be encouraged and motivated to create meaningful experiences through our games.
To read more about Serious Games and Games for Change, visit gamesforchange.org.