| May 18, 2010

I recently attended the Games4Change (G4C) conference in New York, to present a poster that was part of the advanced video game design course I took this past semester. Our class wrote grants for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation challenge Games for Health. The group I was in came up with a mobile intervention game which uses breath therapy as an alternative treatment for smoking cessation. Our poster for G4C was featured during expo night. There were many other games and posters featured that night and I wanted to share some of them, so below is a small description and a link to the projects website. Enjoy.

Budget Maze

Gotham Gazette’s Budget Maze challenges players to make their way through the maze of the city budget as the calendar ticks down to the budget deadline. The game has three levels: the first is a fairly simple level where the player must procure funding from a discretionary pool. The third level requires the player to travel to and from the state capital organizing support for their budget proposal. The goal of the game is to illustrate a complex policy issue with the ultimate aim of arming our readers with better tools to bring it with them into policy it here.

Hurricane Katrina : Tempest in Crescent City

This web-based game recognizes local heroes that emerged during the disaster while educating its players about the essentials of disaster readiness and of reporters. It is set in New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina Disaster of 2005. The game’s main character is Vivica Water, a young woman from New Orleans who moved to New York after surviving the storm. The games takes place in a dream Vivica has where she searches for her mother and helps her neighbors as the hero she wishes she could have been. play it here.

Real lives 2010

This is based on the latest version of the Real Lives simulation that enables you to live life in any country of the world, all based on real world statistics. This new version features an entirely new user interface, animated 3D graphics, family trees, graphs of personal statistics, the ability to create a business, integrated good maps and Flickr phones as well as other features requested by users. The purpose is to increase awareness of, and empathy for people living in different situations and the opportunities and constraints they face as they make life decisions.
play it here.


This game transports kids to a virtual world where they take on the role of young healers tracking down the source of a mysterious plague. As they solve scientific puzzles, tweens experience the same hurdles that real doctors and scientists face in their work. They are challenged to track down the source of the disease, isolate its causes and miss and match ingredients to find a cure. As kids conquer each of the games levels, portions of their sponsors’ pledges are unlocked and donated to Children’s Hospital Boston. If they complete all five, they cure the virtual plague, earn the title “Master Healer” and win the full donation amount to advance to real-world cures for kids. All funds raised go directly to research to find cures and treatments for debilitating childhood it here.

Homeland Guantanamos

This is a game designed to spotlight the inhumane conditions being faced by 300,000 people in an immigrant detention as a result of unfair Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies. Players assume the role of an undercover journalist doing an investigative series who must uncover the true story of Boubacar Bah, an immigrant who dies in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody under questionable circumstances in 2007. The purpose of the game is to broaden awareness of the deaths and inhumane detention conditions that are the result of a DHS that lacks oversight and codified standards, in order to build support for legislative change. more information is available here.

mobile and immersive learning for literacy in emerging economies

Literacy levels in poor countries remain shockingly low, and this game aims to address this issue by providing learning tools on more widely accessible platforms such as cell phones. This allows people to learn in more places and instances which are more convenient than only in schools. MILLEE, now in its 6th year, is taking a scientific approach to the design of immersive enjoyable language learning games on cell phones. The project is expanding to an amazing next level by conducting a controlled field experiment with 800 rural children in India and validation against standardized school tests. The lessons will permit the project to be scaled nationwide and replicated in other developing countries for other languages.
more information is available here.
8-bit learning games on $10 computers

People need affordable learning games. There are 4.1 billion people worldwide who earn under $3,000/year meaning that even a $100 computer is often out of reach. Playpower is targeting a $10 platform that makes learning games affordable. It is so affordable because it uses an existing TV screen and comes with a full keyboard, mouse, game controllers and several game cartridges. These are currently available in street markets in India, China, Pakistan, South America etc. In the USA it is available through MAKE magazines
check it out.