To introduce the shortlist of the entrants for the report on the Gaming for Good challenge that PSFK conducted with The Climate Reality Project, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore wrote the following statement about the power of gaming:
Games are the new normal. The popularity and proliferation of smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices—coupled with a wide variety of social networking platforms—provide fertile ground for the incorporation of games into our lives in fresh, new ways. Whether it’s playing Scrabble on your iPhone or Farmville on Facebook, now millions fill the interstitial moments of their lives with the simple fun that these programs and apps provide.
As games have become ubiquitous, both the private and public sectors have begun to seriously look at the role that gamification can play in their work. Game design, techniques and mechanics, have something to teach those of us who are seeking to engage people on issues of social importance.
In the forty years that I have worked to build public awareness of the need to urgently solve the climate crisis, I have always sought out new methods of communication—from my slideshow on three Kodak carousels (which evolved from an actual slideshow to a multi-media presentation on Keynote)—to my work on An Inconvenient Truth, the “Live Earth” global concerts, “24 Hours of Reality” on the web, and an app for the iPhone and iPad called Our Choice. Exploring the interplay of gamification and social change is a fascinating challenge, and one that I have been exploring for the last three years. Clearly, there is tremendous potential for advocates to reach entirely new audiences with games that are engaging, fun, and motivational.
Recently, I was introduced to Piers Fawkes and the wonderful team at PSFK and for the past several months The Climate Reality Project, PSFK and I have collaborated in an open source “Gaming for Good” Challenge. I hope that you will enjoy the results of this collaboration and that it will encourage you to think creatively about social impact games.