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Games for social good

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Games are undoubtedly one of the biggest uses of the web today, and whilst there are a whole load of games letting you slay vampires or build an empire, there are also many that aim to benefit society in some way.

For instance Elegy for a Dead World is a game that aims to help players absorb themselves in the creative world of Byron or Keats.

Reverse the Odds is a game created by Cancer Research UK to help with the fight against the disease.

That’s one of a growing number of science related games.  For instance, Eyewire is a game that aims to improve our understanding of neuroscience.  Phylo is a logic game that aims to bolster our knowledge of genetics.  EteRNA is a game that explores the folding patterns of RNA, whilst NOVA is tackling a similar issue, but with the hope that it will get youngsters involved.

Suffice to say, those games all take a heavy, science based view of things.  That Dragon, Cancer, however aims much more at our emotions.  It tells the story of a boys fight against cancer.  That the boy in question is modeled on the creators own son Joel adds to the poignancy of the game.

The game places players in a world that is navigated via the mouse and is accompanied by poetry and prose.  As players progress through the game, they discover new elements of how a family battles with cancer.  It recently underwent a successful campaign on Kickstarter and is due for full release in late 2015.

Games as a means of understanding community issues

You also have games that have more community based themes, such as Fort McMoney, a game that places players in a small mining town in Canada and invites them to explore the various social, economic and environmental issues invoked by such a place.

It’s on this broad theme that a game called Never Alone has been launched.  It’s been created by indigenous gaming company Upper One Games and places the player into a traditional native Alaskan story.The game is based upon the traditional Inupiat tale of Kunnuksaavuka, with the heroine being a young called called Nuna who is fighting a blizzard that threatens her local community.

She is helped in her quest by an arctic fox, with players given the choice of playing as one or the other (or both if two people play).

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