Transforming the World One Game at a Time
Do you want to start some buzz in the sacramental preparation program this year? Give families a quest! With all the Candy Crush fever out there, you may have missed it, but there is a whole new class of games emerging which actually does create a better (REAL) world. Try these out and see for yourself how fun it can be to make a difference in the world.
WeTopia: This is the first of the alternative games to hit Facebook. But unlike Farmville and Candy Crush, someone really can win in this game. This is gaming for conscientious gamers, because the winners are the true underdogs of our world. Those who succeed at this game amass "joy" which can be shared with other players or cashed in and sent to those who are least likely to play online games.
Spent: Created by Urban Ministries of Durham which is a faith-based provider of food and shelter for the homeless citizens of North Carolina. This simulation invites a player to apply for a typical minimum-wage job (restaurant worker, warehouse worker or temp). Almost inevitably, even if the player is hired, it does not take long before the money runs out. The game tracks how many days it takes to go broke. Being "spent" is a typical first step to a life of homelessness, danger and despair.
3rd World Farmer: This is a global version of "Spent" in which a player finds himself as a struggling farmer who must survive the challenges that confront families in sub-Saharan Africa. Every choice is fraught with risk. One cannot play this game without seeing how precarious life is even for those lucky enough to have access to arable land. This game demonstrates how connected we all are as well as how simple the remedies can be.
Free Rice 2.0: This life-saving game, operated by the United Nations World Food Program, engages the player in a contest of simple fact-based questions. When a player answers correctly, sponsors donate food. It is really that simple. For each correct answer, the program donates 10 grains of rice to someone in need. The game makes ending hunger look easy and the site offers opportunities to do even more.
Karma Tycoon: JPMorgan Chase Foundation is the unlikely sponsor of this game that challenges us to be success by providing opportunity for others to do likewise. An enterprising player can help people of all ages to thrive despite the challenges of homelessness and poverty. Players start with a grant from Chase Bank, but the must quickly learn to manage a budget and use their money wisely to have a real impact. The challenges grow as the game progresses. In this game young people learn social and fiscal responsibility while developing an appetite for compassionate play.
Citizen Science: Is a time-traveling, adventure game, published by the National Science Foundation and University of Wisconsin in which players analyze the cause for the environmental destruction and identify how to protect our natural resources for a bright and beautiful future. There are additional opportunities for courses, conferences and connecting with other environmental detectives.
Garbage Dreams: Is a challenge to the entrepreneurial gamer sponsored by the Public Broadcasting Service. The Zaballeen (Arabic for "Garbage People" have discovered a profitable solution to the growing problem of trash just outside of Cairo, Egypt. See if you can compete in the urban recycling marketplace. All you need is a goat, an old factory building, and an enterprising spirit.
Sweatshop: Is an arcade game with some factory banter built in. This game introduces a player to life on the factory floor. It demonstrates the larger connection between the expensive sneakers that we wear and the plight of those who produce them. The game has several levels and the player gets to work his way up to manage a factory. Once the boss, the player is faced with difficult choices regarding whether to make money or make a more humane environment for the workers. The player cannot but wonder what kind of conditions the makers of our own clothes face each and every day.