Liveblogging Games for Change – Opening remarks

I’m sitting off to the side as one of the few places where I can plug in and keep my batteries charged for the day. They have provided information on the Wifi, but it is interesting to observe how few laptops there really are here. The list of attendees include a lot of people from the mainstream media, but there isn’t much for discussion about bloggers. If there are any other bloggers here, please, let me know.

In my previous post, I mentioned how this is mostly a younger crowd. It is also mostly white. However, it does have a very good gender distribution.

Suzanne Seggerman starts off with the opening comments… “Games have reached a tipping point” … “More than half our population plays games” She talks about how more and more people are recognizing the importance of games for social change, and how people at non-profits can now meet with others with shared interests as opposed to having the interest dismissed as someone’s “pet little project”.

How much is the crowd gamers? Geeks? Trend watchers? Suzanne says that she hopes that the unifying theme is a desire to bring about positive social change. She mentions Ian Bogost’s comment last year about how this is “about disrupting the status quo.” She goes on to say that “Right now we need all the tools available to us”… To combat the growing divide between the rich and the poor… To fight poverty, injustice, etc.

Benjamin Stokes talks about how people either talk about how games are evil, or games are a lot of fun, and I won’t do anything other than games. He talks about how we need to find the middle ground where we can use games for positive social change. To do this, we need to establish best practices. We also need institutions and a sense of history to bring together the community of game developers working for social change.

He goes on to talk about the need for a curriculum. Games will continue to be made. Their design choices will affect society. This needs to be part of the discussion in programs, like The New School’s program in game design.

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