Running in the right direction

Article by Alexander Landa

In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed countless paradigm shifts in the game industry. Different stories are being told, games themselves are making their way into mainstream culture, and production is easier and cheaper than ever. As much as I enjoy the direction in which video games are heading (although at times I do miss simpler games) I still feel like video games have the capability to be more than just entertainment media.

peacockfThe reason we haven’t seen many games make a huge social impact yet is because up until recently, only larger companies with the people and resources available have been able to make a game. In recent years, between cheaper development costs, more platforms available (especially mobile gaming), and the fact that you can find a plethora of tutorials online for free, game development is much more feasible now than 10 years ago.

It’s not impossible for an independent game to make an impact in game culture – even among the countless AAA titles from around the world that crowd shelves during the holidays. Indie developers put their heart and soul into their game – it’s not just a tool for money, it’s their creative child. Sure, it was stressful and tiring, but the end result is almost always pure joy.

Games are easier to make, and they’re clearly able to make an impact on gaming culture. It’s time we saw a wider variety of stories being told. Stories of minorities, more from the a woman’s POV, examples of culture not often represented, and others. If a book can impact a nation, then I want to see a game do the same.run

It’s a big task, I won’t deny that. But if there’s one thing I’ve seen that creative people love doing, it’s rising up to a challenge and redefining a part of society.Artists create amazing paintings that last centuries. Novels set off human rights movements. Movies make every person in the country hold their breath at the same time.

Let’s see a video game fix problems that other media haven’t been able to yet.

All the reasons above are why I’ve loved working with Decode Global in their mission. When I first wrote about Get Water! earlier this year, not only did it feel like the beginning of my writing career and what I wanted to be more involved in, but I began to really see what something I love so much make a difference. I learned to read from video games, so I’m happy to see the medium I love so much finally able to make a difference in an imperfect world.

Initially, I was drawn to GW because of the simple game mechanics. I get tired of spending hours just in tutorials, so to pick up and play a game is enjoyable and refreshing. I love dodging the birds and turtles, collecting water, and trying to beat my previous record each time. From the gamer perspective, I was hooked.

Then I paid more attention to the story, meaning, and behind-the-scenes intention of the game. Sure it’s a fun experience, but over time I began to appreciate Decode Global’s mission more. I loved playing a game that was meant to make a difference -  to educate, to inform, and to bring light to problems many people aren’t aware of.

sitfThis revelation triggered a lasting impact on me. If Get Water can make a difference with gender inequality and water scarcity, then how could other games tackle different issues? Could we see a role-playing game where we live through the everyday life of someone struggling in some manner? Other games have been more than able to combine fun and education properly, and I’m excited to see what else will come in the future.

Get Water is an amazing game that I’ve been following for a while, and I always love seeing it make an impact on social issues, technology, and media. I can’t wait to see where it will go next, and I’m eagerly awaiting future games from Decode Global. Gaming can change the world, and I’m glad to witness it first hand.