Serious Games Round-Up

While I was taking a bit of time off for the holidays, the gaming world did not sleep. Here are a number of highlights from the last month, including some new games.

Gaming Trends & Research

Advertising Pawn offers up the following slide show on gaming trends (click through if you don’t see it). It’s nicely done and gives a solid synopsis of the current state of gaming and where we are likely headed (via Future-Making Serious Games).

PopoutA memo from the Pew Internet & American Life Project also offers up a wealth of data on gaming among U.S. adults. For starters, “Some 53% of American adults age 18 and older play video games.” The memo is a relatively quick 9-page read, so I definitely recommend downloading it and taking at least a quick look at all the additional data it offers (via Business & Games).

An article in the Telegraph highlights new findings that suggest gaming may improve the brain power of aging adults. A Sharp Brains posting on games picks up the Telegraph article and offers additional insight into one of the studies.

Serious Game Events

The 6th Annual Games for Change conference will take place May 26-29 in New York City. The conference features “days of panels, keynotes and brainstorming sessions, private events for journalists and foundations, as well as an evening games Expo media event and reception where attendees can play these new games first-hand.”

Games+Learning+Society Conference 5.0 will take place June 10-12 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme, learning through interaction, is intended to highlight “the expansive nature of our definition of games and game culture to include research and design in areas including popular culture and fandom, interactive design more generally, and digital/visual cultures.”

The 5th Annual Games for Health Conference will take place June11-12 in Boston. It offers “two-days of talks, more then 300 attendees and 40 sessions provided by an international array of over 50 speakers cutting across a wide range of activities in health and health care.”

New Serious Games

Last but not least, I became aware of a few new (at least to me) games out there (or on the way):

AIDS Awareness

Warner Bros. behind a new game to heighten AIDS awareness and change behavior among Kenyan youth (via Serious Games Source)

Fighting Debt

MTV has issued an Indebted Digital Challenge to find “a creative, original idea for a video game that addresses the nation’s fiscal crisis.” The winner will get $10,000 and the chance to work with mtvU to create the game (via Serious Games Source).

Peace and War

Tom Werner tipped me off to Virtual Peace, a simulation developed by Duke University and Virtual Heroes. The game is based on events in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, which devastated much of Central America in 1998.

Meanwhile, RaidGaza from Newgrounds has been stirring up quite a bit of conversation – some of it heated. As the title suggests, the game is based on current events in the Gaza strip, and how you view it will no doubt be influenced by how you view the real conflict.

Well, that’s all for now, but look for continuing postings on games here at Mission to Learn throughout 2009. And if you got any serious games news, please post it here in the comments.

Jeff Cobb
Mission to Learn

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