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Games For Change Holds 5th Annual Festival

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the offbeat-games dept.

Announcements 13

Eleanor writes "Games for Change, the non-profit organization that promotes games which foster social awareness and/or activism, will host their fifth annual festival of the same name on June 2-4 in New York City. The festival, which will be hosted by Parsons The New School, features opening keynote speakers Henry Jenkins (MIT) and James Gee (Arizona State University), and the closing keynote is the Honorable Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is working on a project on the court system in conjunction with Dr. Gee."

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Er... (2, Insightful)

Malevolyn (776946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558359)

Not knocking this, I promise, just a discussion point: aren't games inadvertently changing things as it is?

Re:Er... (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558561)

Yes, but knowing what you're changing is important. Films can be good and important and overall very awesome because directors walk into the film knowing what works and what doesn't, and it took them 50 years to get to the point they're at now. It's even made dumb films better because even bad directors can use the lessons that have been learned.

Gaming as a whole is like a toddler right now, with more failures than successes and not fully sure what can be accomplished. We may find that games are awful places to examine relationships, or we might find that tragedy can be more poignant in games than in any other media. We don't know yet because games just aren't to that point. Festivals like this, where they celebrate games that attempt to be meaningful, help us to understand the limits and learn what works and what doesn't.

Re:Er... (3, Insightful)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559083)

... and it took them 50 years to get to the point they're at now.
And what point is that? For the most part movies today are unoriginal, over use special effects, neglect making the movie interesting, and really aren't that good. That's not to say there aren't some really good ones which have come out recently; I just don't see this magical improvement in movies you're referring to. Perhaps you've not seen many classics?

Re:Er... (3, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 6 years ago | (#23559923)

That's a total copout response. As a enjoyer of both classic and contemporary film, alike, I think it's pretty spineless and uninformed to generalize contemporary films the way you are doing so. That's the sort of knee-jerk reaction that practically everyone has had about every genre of anything in the history of mankind. "X is dead, it's become too high-tech and lost track of its roots." Ya know that people were saying the same thing about Fritz Lang, Orsen Wells, and Alfred Hitchcock?

The bottom line is that at any one time period there are movies that over-use the current technology of the day, that sacrifice good storytelling for cheap tricks, eye and ear candy. Older films are somewhat pre-filtered, as the good ones stand the test of the time, and the bad ones get left behind. With contemporary films, you have to be your own judge... go out and read reviews, make your own call about what films to watch. Yes, it's harder to find a good contemporary movie because they haven't been pre-viewed for your liking.

That said, some time periods haven't been all that great for films... at least certain genres of film. The 80s and early-90s were not very kind to the silver screen. However, the late 90s to present has arguably seen more creativity within cinema than any time since the 1920s. I can't be sure until we look back on it, but compared to the early 90s, it feels like we're currently living in a golden age... but I could be wrong.

Re:Er... (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560691)

Point taken although that's not even close to what I was saying. I never said movies were a dead art form, in fact I said I enjoyed a number of recent films. The person I was replying to indicated that movies have improved over the last 50 years, so I thought that perhaps he hasn't seen many of the classics with which to compare to the soon-to-be classics of today. I mean it's just story telling, one story isn't inherently better than another.

Your post is, if anything, agreeing with what I'm saying. Things haven't really improved, the really good films will float to the top and people will enjoy them for a long time to come, the bad ones won't.

Re:Er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23560099)

Yes, but knowing what you're changing is important.

The people promoting "social awareness and/or activism" are the last people I want deciding what's important to change.

Re:Er... (2, Insightful)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558699)

Not knocking this, I promise, just a discussion point: aren't games inadvertently changing things as it is?

Of course they are -- in fact, it's unavoidable. Anything anybody does causes at least some change, and games are no exception to that.

This has two differences: 1) that you've written the game with some specific change(s) in mind, and 2) that the changes you had in mind fit the organizers' idea of social consciousness.

Even if, for example, GTA IV was written with the specific idea of changing people's attitudes, it probably wouldn't qualify for this show. My own experience has been that shows like this are largely self-contradictory: they claim it's about socially conscious games -- but they nearly automatically disqualify anything that's really fun as not being sufficiently socially conscious...

why is activism a good thing? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558639)

i guess i don't get it, and i certainly don't understand what any of it has to with video games.

I think I'll let others do the activism and I'll stick to playing games...

Re:why is activism a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23559319)

You probably enjoy some civil rights, you've got activism to thank for it. A society without critics is dictatorship. Like so many other things, you first really cherish freedom once it's taken from you.

(This comment is no endorsement for the festival, never heard of it before.)

Re:why is activism a good thing? (2, Interesting)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23563527)

i guess i don't get it, and i certainly don't understand what any of it has to with video games.
Activism is a method of trying to promote coverage of a certain issue as well as an attempt to get people to support said issue. The simplest form of activism involves making a forum posting on Slashdot to advertise Ron Paul (a.k.a. preaching to the choir), or dropping leaflets on a bus or in a park (a.k.a. buckshotting), and can be as complex as creating a significant grassroots campaign (such as to remove the game "Primal Rage" from Target or other retail stores.)

In this case, video games are being created as part of activism. When you play Airport Security [] , the nature of the game causes you to wonder about what's going on at those airports. When you later read an article where a person dies when tasered at the airport, you'll get a slightly larger emotional impact because of your previous experience with said security (in this case, a politically charged representation.)

There's also the McDonald's video game as well.

GTA (1)

Eternauta3k (680157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23558985)

I heard there's this game about protecting your 2nd ammendment rights

Re:GTA (1)

Justin Hopewell (1260242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23560835)

As much as I love the GTA series, I sure would not use it as an example in pushing gun rights.

Creepy (1)

3HackBug77 (983153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23565233)

The first three pictures on that page all look like potential child molesters. Am I the only one who thinks that's a little ironic?
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