Unlike the commercial gaming industry, Games-for-Change aims to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good. What follows is an item on what they’ve been up to recently
“At GameTheNews.net we have been working on creating news-games for the past three months. We’ve covered a wide range of topics from solar power to the US election. However it was Endgame:Syria that got people talking and reopened the questions about games and reality. (For those new to Endgame:Syria, it is a game that looks at the Syrian civil war and the best way to understand the game is to play it – free to playhere.) So what is a news-game? Simply its a game that explores news. Because a news-game may be exploring a serious issue, it is more about engagement that fun. News-games need to have a number of other crucial features to them, which we applied to Endgame:Syria.
“We were far from the first developers to attempt to create games from news; the form has its roots going back a decade or more, notable examples including titles including PeaceMaker and September 12th. What became apparent to me as a designer looking at the form was that a news-game needs to deliver something to the user that a linear form of media (text, images, video) does not, else what is the point of creating it? With Endgame:Syria one non-linear aspect is that we can to put the user into a role, that of the rebels. I was not seeking to make a game of simplistic ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’, indeed quite to the contrary, by placing the player into the role of coordinating the rebel side was a deliberate choice to offer some degree of insight into the challenges faced with such a disparate group. So for example, you can deploy tactics like assassination but whilst militarily effective, the serious price you for selection this route is paid in civilian casualties and that it may cost you the peace even if you win. Another non-linear aspect that Endgame:Syria was able to do is the replay value, so that you can see how different choices would play out over time. So if you don’t want to accept help from any Western powers, you don’t have to and can see how that will play out. Indeed, the re-playability is at the core of the design and was the seed of the original game.”