Originally hosted at bettergamecontest.org, this page is a collection of demos, prototypes, and polished games culled from a diverse group of international designers, educators, and students tackling a range of values-conscious design challenges.
Click on icon to play games (.swf only) or to download games to play…
Darfur is Dying
Darfur is Dying is a narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp.
Darfur is Dying is a viral video game for change that provides a window into the experience of the 2.5 million refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Players must keep their refugee camp functioning in the face of possible attack by Janjaweed militias. Players can also learn more about the genocide in Darfur that has taken the lives of 400,000 people and find ways to get involved to help stop this human rights and humanitarian crisis.
Play Dafur Is Dying
Making money in a corporation like McDonald’s is not simple at all! Behind every sandwich, there is a complex process you must learn to manage: from the creation of pastures to the slaughter, from the restaurant management to the branding.
For decades McDonald’s corporation has been heavily criticized for its negative impact on society and environment.
There are inevitably some glitches in our activity: rainforest destruction, livelihood losses in the third world, desertification, precarization of working conditions, food poisoning and so on…
Denying all these well founded accusations would be impossible so an online game was created to explain to young people that this is the price to pay in order to preserve our lifestyle.
Play the McDonald’s Game
Profit Seed (Values At Play game!)
Profit Seed explores the issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the patenting of agricultural seeds.
It is also an experiment with a novel game mechanic. A player uses her mouse to control the wind and tries to plant heirloom seeds while preventing GMO seeds from blowing onto a farmer’s plots. If enough GMO seeds land in the field and germinate, the lawyer from an agribusiness corporation comes to sue the farmer and take his land.
Akrasia is based on the abstract concept of addiction, which is expressed metaphorically throughout the game.
The game is set in a maze that represents the mind. The maze has two states – a normal and a psychedelic state. To enter the game, the player has to collect a pill-shaped object and thus enters the game as “addict”. From “chasing the dragon” and the experience of dependency to working your way through “cold turkey stage” where willpower is mapped onto navigation skills, this game models the essential dimensions of the addiction gestalt as identified by its creators.
Download Akrasia (pc)
Ayiti: The Cost of Life
Players are challenged to help the Guinard family make ends meet and get ahead in their poverty-stricken homeland, Haiti. In this sometimes tragic and always challenging simulation game, you help the parents, Jean and Marie, and their children, Patrick, Jacqueline, and Yves, make decisions about work, education, community building, personal purchases, and health care that might brighten their future.
Hush (bettergamecontest winner!)
Hush is a game set in 1994 Rwanda, during a Hutu raid on a Tutsi community. You play a mother who must calm her baby by singing a lullaby. You must type out the words of your lullaby calmly and evenly to keep your child from crying and maintain your rhythm while you are bombarded by the increasingly disturbing sounds and images of the genocide just beyond your window. If you fail to keep your child from crying, you will be discovered and killed. If you can keep your child quiet, you can survive the violence and escape.
You’re trying to paint a masterpiece, here, but the Paint Tanks and Paint Bombers keep ruining it! Paint faster than they can vandalize, or just click them ’till they explode; just don’t let them get between you and your art!
Play Paint War
[Requires free Scratch environment by MIT to run, available at scratch.mit.edu]
Giant Tank is an anti war game. Giant Tank depicts a battle between a soldier with a rifle and a tank. You are not the tank.
Giant Tank uses the language of games – action and simulation – to produce an anti-war message. The character designs may be products of modern warfare, but they are not specific to a particular conflict or nationality. The tank is an abstraction of the brutal machine of war while the soldier is a hopeless, frightened individual sent to the front to fight on the losing end of this battle of unequal force.
Giant Tank questions many aspects of warfare and society. How does the value of human life change in warfare? Why do people follow orders even when they understand them to be incorrect or the situation to be hopeless? How conscious are we of these facts in games?
Giant Tank also questions the nature of games themselves. Do we really believe what the voice of authority says (including the game’s rules and our concepts of what games should be)? Should we really believe the game that a rifle can actually destroy a tank? Do games require both winning and losing scenarios when reality does not?
Giant Tank is inspired by the classic Atari game Combat as well as the fictional unwinnable game Snakes and Foxes in Robert Jordan’s THE WHEEL OF TIME (http://www.wotmania.com/faqtopic.asp?ID=90). It also draws on the work of Gonzala Frasca (http://www.ludology.org) and Shuen-shing Lee (http://www.gamestudies.org/0302/lee/). Giant Tank was built using Scratch by MIT (scratch.mit.edu) and will require the Scratch player to run (not included). The scenario is based on many instances of mechanized vs foot soldier combat in film and literature and its horrific and frightening consequences.
Download Giant Tank
Flow is an addictive Flash game created by a student while researching design methodologies for elastic video game experiences. Your goal is to dive deep into the space, eat and evolve.
- Use Mouse Cursor to guide your creature
- Hold on Left Mouse Button to accelerate
- Red makes you dive down
- Blue brings you back up
- Filling up your body to grow longer + makes your current body segment evolve
- Move slowly to make smaller turns
In Cloud, the player controls a child in his/her dream to fly freely through the world, play and paint the sky with different types of clouds, and eventually use weather and nature to save the world. Cloud experiments with creating a richer emotional experience for the player, focusing on “relaxation, creativity, goodness, nature & zen.”
Download Cloud (pc)
3rd World Farmer
3rd World Farmer is Civilization-style sandbox strategy game, but on a much more personal scale. Players manage a family of African farmers and acquire simple resources such as a shovel, a barn, or a pig. The game models the frustrations and dangers of the life of a 3rd World farmer, so just as the player is starting to prosper, a civil war or drought or some other catastrophe is likely to wreak havoc on their family and the farm they’ve so carefully built.
Play 3rd World Farmer