Dr. Janet Murray’s unbelievably intelligent and thought-provoking talk, “Inventing the Medium: Learning and Symbolic Expression from Knucklebones and Senet to Second Life and Spore,” examined the historical role of games and game play upon the evolution of humanity, communication, and representation (read the abstract here and video will be forthcoming). Immensely interesting stuff that will take me a while to process and make sense of. During her discussion she talked about PeaceMaker, a game that provides varying mediated perspectives upon the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by allowing you to play both sides of the struggle (the game’s tagline is “Play the News. Solve the Puzzle”). This got me thinking about Tiltfactor, and organization that creates games for social change (an organization Jeff Drouin pointed me to with his comments here).
…we create games for change, educational games, artwork, and social software. We hope to make effective interventions in thinking about how games, and software in general, can evolve to take into account social activist principles. For example, how can one design for multiple learners and multiple play styles? Can games improve the self-efficacy of underrepresented groups? Can games teach equity? What is an excellent design solution which focuses on collaboration, yet also satisfies competitive urges?
You can find out more about the lab from the video below.