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Values@Play: Designing Social Values in Serious Games

Via: Values At Play - Designing Social Values in Computer Games

Aware of the tremendous and wide-ranging impact games have in our world, the Values at Play (VAP) research project seeks to assist and encourage designers in creating games that further the understanding and appreciation of such values as equality, diversity, creativity, and many more.

Values At Play ambition is to harness the power of video games in the service of humanistic principles.

The Values At Play Curriculum And Teaching Guide

The Values at Play project was conceived with the intent of investigating how video game designers consciously and unconsciously embed social values into video games through narratives and game mechanics.

The curriculum, a corollary of the research project funded by a National Science Foundation grant, will introduce designers to a systematic method for discovering, analyzing, and integrating values into their design work.

All of the materials associated with the curriculum are available at as downloadable documents.

The VAP Curriculum at a Glance

This is a 4-week unit that introduces students to the concept of values becoming embedded in games through choices that design teams make about rules, mechanics, and narrative throughout the iterative design process. Following are the major components:

1. An on-line survey that students will complete before the unit begins
2. Readings and class activities that introduce and reinforce the concept of values becoming embedded in games
3. On-line design journals for students to reflect on their experiences
4. A game prototype as a final project for the unit
5. A second on-line survey completed at the end of the unit

GROW-A-GAME - Values At Play Game Contest Open For Submissions

The contest is accepting PLAYABLE GAMES ON ANY PLATFORM from Flash to Java to Board Games made by teams or individuals. Students, artists, activists, and all others are welcome to participate.

Submissions can be made to one of three categories:

Social Impact: Design a game using and issue, value, and mechanic from the list on our website
Community is Revolutionary: Pick a controversy currently under debate in your community and address it with a game
Greenwoods: Build a game that explores economic issues such as consumerism inside a fictional big-box retail store

Winners in each category will receive up to 8 Apple iPhones for the team and international recognition in VAP Games Library, and promotion of their work at the Games for Change 2008 Conference to be held in June 2008 in New York City.

Submissions are due January 1, 2008 at which time judges will begin reviewing entries. Winning games will be archived and promoted by our not-for-profit team.