Thanks to Fiona Littleton (who incidentally runs a excellent course in computer games for learning at Edinburgh University) who sent me the link to this article from Time magazine on the use of computer games to support awareness raising and activism.
A long time ago I worked for Oxfam and one of my tasks was to engage with groups on developmental issues as part of the education remit. I remember being asked to run a last minute session with a very well-to-do pensioners’ group in Edinburgh, and because I didn’t have anything prepared, I decided to run a development game with them. I think they were expecting a slide show of ‘poor children in Africa’ because the fact that they were going to do something interactive came as a bit of a shock (and initially met with a fair bit of resistance) but by the end of the session there was a high level of engagement and some of those present were starting to think differently about the reasons for poverty.
So games for activism aren’t something new, and in my experience they are certainly powerful, but I wonder whether the people who play these type of games aren’t already well informed and active. Without something to force the initial engagement are they simply preaching to the converted?