Tuesday, 13 November 2012
On the Social Impact of Gaming
So all of the people over at Last Pick Productions are friends of mine. They had this crazy idea that people would like to play a game about being a homeless guy on the streets of Vancouver and decided to raise some money on Kickstarter so they could make that game. They recently made their funding goal and have started production. Congratulations to them.
Now we all know that people will play games based on basically any concept. If you want to play a game about nicely asking your neighbours for space, there is Risk. If you want to play a game about fighting against the return of the elder ones, then there is a plethora of Call of Cthulhu games. If you want to enter a warzone, pick any recent FPS. If you want to drive a bus across a desert, if you want to beat random strangers with a bat, if you want to be a video game developer, then there are games tailored specifically to your niche needs.
So its not that surprising that there will be a game about being homeless. What is surprising is why they are doing it. They want to raise awareness about the homeless problem that plagues many modern cities such as Vancouver, and hopefully raise some money to help these people in the process. We all know that as long as a game is enthralling people will play it, regardless of any of its secondary goals. They may not even consider the reality that it is based on in the process. The opposite is also true, if the game sucks nobody will play it save the first few.
Last Pick may have already achieved their goal of raising awareness however. In the process of, in the words of some, trivializing, marginalizing, and making light of a serious problem they have started debates about not just the controversial nature of their game but also the issue they wanted people to be more aware of. They have already made at least some of the social impact they were hoping for. Lets hope they go on to also make an awesome game.
If you can think of any other games that tried or are trying to make social impact, please tell me about them in the comments.
As this is a new blag, I really don't know what direction I want to take it in yet or how I ultimately want it to look. So I will take some polls over the next little while asking questions about what all of you want from it. Every vote counts! Make your voice heard!