April Party — Real Talk About Serious Games

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When creating a serious game (a game intentionally designed to have a purposeful impact on the players’ lives beyond the self-contained aim of the game itself) how do you keep both the game fun and the process of making the game fun? Developers from the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab don’t have the answer, but they think they’re on the right track! The challenge is in maintaining respect for the serious topic while making a game that will be engaging for the players.
Come hear about three cases in which they’ve made games in various environments: game jams, student projects, projects for clients and provide your feedback about what makes an environment fun, and how exactly do you talk about serious things. Specific cases are the Equal Pay Game Jam from March; game development projects such as elude (a video game about depression), a boardgame created to help communities build wireless mesh networks, and current game development prototypes about prison management and medicare; and student class assignments based on the Willpath personal health tracking and rewards system.
Panelists are:
Sara Verrilli, Development Director, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Game Director for the wireless mesh network game and the prototypes about prison management and medicare; Instructor for Creating Videogames at MIT.
Rik Eberhardt, Studio Manager, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Game Director for elude and organizer for various game jams, including the Equal Pay Game Jam (organized to make games for the Department of Labor Equal Pay Challenge – getting data and info about the current inequities of pay into the hands of US citizens); Instructor for Creating Videogames at MIT.
Konstantin Mitgutsch, Postdoctoral Researcher, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. Currently researching serious game design development, games for social change, and product owner for the prototypes about prison management and medicare. He has a blog categorizing various games for social change at http://purposefulgames.tumblr.com/.

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