Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Digital Technology, Games, Gaming, Pop Culture

Meaningful games (Part 2)

Following on from Meaningful games (Part 1) from a few days ago, here is an additional selection of games that might fall into the category of games that move us in some way, and demonstrate one or more of these dimensions:

  1. Meaningful choices;
  2. Flow;
  3. Social play of some form.

(See previous post for more details on these)

Image result for food forceFood Force (2005) (Archive link)

Produced by the United Nations World Food Programme this game takes different tasks and problems faced in the delivery of food aid to regions in need and turns them into a form to engage children educationally. Version 2 of the game, Food Force 2 (downloadable from here), was an updated game that allowed players to engage with Haiti post-earthquake or an Indian village.

The original game has six missions played in arcade-style gameplay:

  1. Air surveillance: Locating hungry citizens in a helicopter;
  2. Producing a balanced diet from rice, oil, beans, sugar and salt for a daily budget;
  3. Dropping food supplies in a target zone;
  4. Logistics management managing food supplies;
  5. Leading a food truck convoy to a depot, facing various hazards;
  6. Village development through management of aid and development resources.

Image result for never aloneNever Alone (2014-2016)

When I was in Denver in August 2018 I visited the Denver Art Museum as part of the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture conference that was meeting in Boulder. Part of that involved visiting a number of curated installations, many of which showcased indigenous artists and their work. It was here that I came across an installation of this game: Never Alone also known as also known as Kisima Innitchuna (“I am not alone”).

The game tells traditional Iñupiaq tale, “Kunuuksaayuka”, through a mixture of game play and digital storytelling. The player swaps between playing as an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her Arctic fox as they seek to save her village. While the story is linear, it offers meaningful connection to both the characters and the community behind the game. Recommended.

Image result for mass effect 2 pcMass Effect 2 (2010)
(Official web site now defunct)

By popular acclaim, Mass Effect 2 makes it onto the list, particularly for choices you made playing the game had meaningful consequences for the remainder of the game. With a mixture of role-playing, first-person shooter, and interactive storytelling genres the game

The game models morality using Paragon (charm) and Renegade (intimidate) points, which are generated by the decisions you make and which influence how other characters respond to you as the game progresses. The game is regularly cited as one of the greatest video games of all time.

Image result for last day in juneLast Day of June (2017)

Last Day of June tells the story of Carl, who survives a car accident in which his love, June, is killed. After the accident, Carl is wheelchair-bound and finds that he can experience past memories they shared by touching June’s paintings. In these memories, Carl can change the past and the game is a quest to prevent June’s death.

The game explores grief, love, mourning, and sacrifice, with increasingly complex sequences of changes as the game progresses.

Other notable mentions

Her Story (2015-2016)

Ori and the Blind Forest (2015, 2019)

Attentat 1942 (2017)

Elite Dangerous (2014)