Words can't really express how much of an honor and a privilege it is to talk about the world-changing potential of games to something like the G20, but I'll give it a shot.
The focus of our talk was one of the world's most critical priorities: water management.
We often don't think about where our water comes from, until we either run out of it or it starts making us sick. On Earth, the blue planet, we tend to take it for granted, but the fact is, in many places around the world, its a struggle to get clean, potable water, either due to lack of industry - or too much of it. And no two places are alike - even the United States - which as a whole has huge amounts of surplus, has regional variations: Southern California is suffering a major drought, and the relatively dry Great Plains region has been forced to overdraw its aquifers to support farms, livestock, and people.
But whatever else there is, the critical link in the chain is the people involved.
Thus, Tethys, the solution put forward by AFK Studios, is a population based intervention. Through this game, we aim to support technological innovations and local life-changing projects through a funding model powered by mobile games and online communities. In this model, players are connected with global causes through gameplay, with game revenue directly financing microloans to seed promising projects. Successful project deployments are reflected in-game, giving sustainability a welcome spotlight, and showing players the direct impact of even a small contribution.
And since our 15 (20) minutes in the spotlight, we haven't been complacent. We've continued to build and grow, refining our concept, working on a prototype, and interfacing with partners to make what we do possible.
For we have dreams, goals, visions.
We founded AFK Studios because we shared a common vision of what games could -- and should -- be. As storytellers and world-builders, we’ve long been fascinated with what made narratives powerful. Rich, larger than life characters; colorful worlds of intrigue, suspense and imagination; and rich, interwoven storylines that made people care.
We know people see the world through stories, looking for narratives to make sense of a complex, ever-changing world. We believe games can provide these narratives, offering a unique experience through the control and understanding one gains from playful interaction.
At AFK Studios, we seek to bridge the barrier between virtual worlds and social causes by making games that not only educate, but offer interaction and engagement with the causes we promote. Through our work, we let people learn through play and empower them to make real world change by funding prosocial projects through in-game purchases and by promoting awareness in the online community - gaming for the greater good.
As a designer, I've long believed that games can be powerful avenues for engagement and learning - I've even done some research on this and have published a paper or two on the topic - but I also believe that first and foremost, games need to be fun. more
What if we could revolutionize the future of mental healthcare? What if, instead of treating mental illness - we could prevent it? What if we could do this through games, seamlessly integrating therapeutic elements into compelling narratives? more