We’ve looked at Facebook games that promote goodness before, and now we can WeTopia to that list. Instead of taking all those in-game purchases as profit WeTopia gives to charities that do real-world good.
Board Game Jam is happening in Toronto February 25-26! If you’ve ever wanted to make a game then this is a place to start!
Here’s a special challenge to Things Are Good readers: make a game that is designed to educate or empower people to make the world a better place. If you do, find me at the event and I’ll post all the good games later on!
At the same time, even while videogames seem to occupy the headlines, the world of board gaming is seeing a resurgence in some smaller part of our collective consciousness. All the hipsters know how to play Settlers of Catan, and Snakes & Lattes seems to be packed every single day. If you ask me, it’s part of some broader reconnection to real social interaction in so-called “meatspace,” but I’ll spare you the philosophizin’.
The point is that board games are both wonderfully accessible and quite deep. Everyone can intuitively understand the basics of what goes into making a board game. On a mechanical level, it’s simple arts and crafts. For people looking to be creative, that can be a great change from making a film or any kind of digital media, which require significant technical knowledge and a team of specialists. But making a board game can be lead you down a rabbit-hole into a world of rich creative exploration and sophisticated design. Like the best games of any sort, making a board game is both easy to learn, and tough to master.
Board Game Jam is a low-barrier way to enter the world of gamemaking, and have fun doing it.
If you thought playing games was just for fun, well Foldit is a game that has people solve problems for science. That itself is pretty neat, but what pushes this one over the edge is that Foldit has brought some great results and fast!
Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids — the building blocks of proteins — using a set of online tools.
To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks.
Cracking the enzyme “provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs,” says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem.
“We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed,” Firas Khatib of the university’s biochemistry lab said in a press release.
A new Facebook game has been launched that allows you to help the planet while you play. It’s called MyConservationPark and it’s made by Good World Games.
MyConservationPark is a socially conscious Facebook game that places you in charge of building and managing a protected wildlife reserve. Create and sustain a livable habitat for your endangered heroes while defending your park from human and environmental threats. Purchase species and hire helpers to improve your animal’s habitat; the healthier your animal’s habitat, the more Conservation Cash and Good World Gold you earn. Your gameplay supports real life conservation efforts: MyConservationPark donates a percentage of all in-game purchase revenue directly to one of our non-profit partners’ conservation programs.
Some entrepreneurs in Vancouver have discovered that there are not enough games designed specifically for women and they are looking to change that.
As a game designer myself, I think that this is a great thing to see!
Few mainstream video games are made — or marketed — with women in mind, even though nearly 40 per cent of video game players in the United States and Canada are female. The likely reason? Few women are actually designing the games.
Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes hope to ride to the rescue. Last July, the two Vancouverites launched Silicon Sisters, the first game development studio in the country owned and run by women. It is unique in its mission to design games for young girls from a female perspective.
Their first game, School 26, launches in early spring on computer and portable Mac devices. It’s a role-playing game in which players act as a high school student who helps peers with personal and school-related problems.
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