Research Paper: Serious Game Critique - Essay Example

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In recent years, with rapid advancements in tools that make game development easier for people and a generation often literally raised on games, the nature of role played by games in changing human population’s attitudes and behaviors is under debate as not much research is as…
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Research Paper: Serious Game Critique
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15 April Serious Game Critique: In recent years, with rapid advancements in tools that make game development easier for people and a generation often literally raised on games, the nature of role played by games in changing human population’s attitudes and behaviors is under debate as not much research is as yet done in this area. Games are increasingly being used by developers as powerful means of raising awareness of certain social issues among young people especially. This explains why games are considered to form an effective channel for transformational change.
Serious games are in particular effective change agents because they do a lot more than just providing a person temporary break from routine work. Homeless: It’s No Game is the name of one such serious game which was actually developed to evaluate the extent to which people possess the ability to act sympathetically towards masses of homeless in the society. The intention of the game is to change any rigid or bizarre attitudes or ideologies of people towards grave social issue of homelessness but in an interesting way by letting a person play the role of a homeless woman in the game.
Homeless: It’s No Game has clearly attempted to create change by analyzing if people could be persuaded to change their misleading or flawed beliefs towards an issue by playing a game or not. In the present times, it is secret to none that serious games are effectively helping children and even adults by educating them about myriad social activities and practices in the hope to create a social change for the better. Serious games as agents of change stand distinguished among other agents because they effortlessly make otherwise boring and dry issues appear suddenly riveting and challenging to the players.
The popularity of the above mentioned serious game stems from its developers’ intention to reinforce a positive social message in the younger population by making game tasks appear realistic and dramatic. Clearly a lot of time and money is being invested in the genre of serious games but the question frequently asked is if or not these games actually help to achieve the aim of social awareness. The Homeless game has managed in influencing quite many players’ actions regarding the issue of homelessness for the better which signifies significant success of this game. It is claimed that playing the game resulted in increased sympathy among players towards homeless people (Lavender 22).
The goal of this game is to challenge people to survive for 24 hours which is actually merely 15 minutes as a homeless woman without letting self-esteem drop to zero. During this time, many encounters occur with other characters in the society like policemen, robber, agitated citizens, and other similarly homeless people. High self-esteem would mean positive encounters and low self-esteem would mean otherwise and in this way the game aims at assessing change among people. However, games as media of change still have to gain a lot more momentum because they are not taken seriously by many and games were rated the lowest when players were asked to rate the effectiveness of different media in changing social attitudes (Lavender 26-27).
Work cited:
Lavender, T.J. “Video Games as Change Agents – The Case of Homeless: It’s No Game.” The McMaster Journal of Communication 7.1 (2011): 13-36. Print. Read More
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