Why a game?

Make A Change Game

Amanda Crispel, professor at Champlain College

Excerpt from Amanda Crispel, Asst. Dean of Game Development:

One of the top questions I have been asked is, "Why a video game to address such serious topics?" It's true that the products of the entertainment game industry are what most people see and engage when it comes to game media. It's hard to imagine Candy Crush, League of Legends or Halo addressing serious life messages. But the truth about how games work is that all games have two fundamental requirements that make them excellent tools for learning.

First, games require active participation. Unlike books, or movies, or college lectures, which are all passive activities, games require engagement and choice-making. You can't ignore the content, the messages, the meanings. They are integrated into the experience.

Second, to play a game you must learn. You can't play unless you understand how all the parts of the game work. You can't complete the game unless you understand how to play, progress and finish. Learning, understanding, processing is unavoidable and integral to play.

Today, games are used in a variety of ways from marketing to education. Game simulators help train soldiers to learn the culture of the regions where they are deployed or how to react under fire and save lives. Games help children with ADHD retrain their brains for concentration and control. Games are maturing as an expressive media, and through research we are beginning to understand the power of a game experience to influence thinking, teach, and change behavior.

Our hope with Not Alone is to give the player an opportunity to experience and explore what happens when sexual violence enters a community, not in a salacious way but in a manner that helps us all talk about this difficult topic. Bringing this dark, often avoided conversation into the light and talking about it improves our chances of making Champlain College a safer place for all.

Below are some resources if you would like to know more about serious games:

If you have questions, or want to share your thoughts feel free to contact me directly at: crispel@champlain.edu

Make A Change Game