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Worldchanging Games?
Alex Steffen, 3 Jan 05

The other day, shopping for a present, I came across this strange-sounding German boardgame, Industrial Waste:

"In the past, profit was the only measure of success for a company. Although profit is still the most important measure of company success, there are other important factors that a companies must consider when measuring success. Companies must now look beyond the walls of their company to the world and realise their position in the world and the effect they have on it, especially how they handle the waste they produce as a by-product of their manufacturing process. Companies also must spend resources on technological innovations so the company can continue to be successful.

"In Industrial Waste, the players are the owners/managers of companies that are competing in this new world where profit, innovation, and environment must be balanced to be considered successful. The players must decide when and where to invest in innovation: rationalisation, raw materials, and waste reduction. Innovation in rationalisation allows a company to produce products with fewer co-workers, innovation in raw materials allows a company to produce products with less raw materials, and innovation in waste reduction allows a company to produce less waste. The first two allow a company to be more efficient. The latter allows the company to be more friendly with the environment."

I've always thought that games can aid innovation (or help stymie it), but I realize that I don't really know much about what games are out there right now, and which might be considered Worldchanging.

Any recommendations?

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Do you know about FishBanks? This was a great simulation game developed by Dennis Meadows and company at the University of New Hampshire. It's a great illustration of how fisheries work, and why they almost always collapse. It's not a retail success, naturally, but it's very, very cool.

Of course, there is always SimEarth and the rest.

Cheers, Jon

Posted by: Jon Foley on 3 Jan 05

Ah, if only we could play the World Game online!!!

Posted by: gmoke on 3 Jan 05

dude, awesome!

I'm the games guy! I'll try and think of something on this.

Remember OrganicPoetry?

Posted by: Rohit Gupta on 3 Jan 05

Boardgamegeek has a whole environmental section:

Posted by: jude on 4 Jan 05

Yes! As an IT specialist, ergonomist and game researcher, i'm a firm believer in the wide, often unknown and worldchanging (!) applications of computer games. Not only for entertainment and fun, but also for education and training through emerging "serious games" (new trend). Computer games are software interactive programs that are linked with all kind of rules' set. So think about games that could implement new environmental and social rules to help gamers understand the scope of their virtual actions. When game rules are similar to real life's, we talk about simulations.

To me, away from any kind of dirty moral judgement about the pretended violence of computer games, I would say that the Grand Theft Auto serie or Mafia are creative and worldchanging games. Mainly because they disturb conservatives and look as anarchist games, where you feel nearly free to wander around for no purpose, drive cars, challenge gang missions... a profound feel of freedom and fun, eventhough in games, you'll always been confined within the virtual limits of rules. How real is that, compared to our pretended freedom within democracies?

Anyway, computer games will often help gamers to experiment a sense of control of their own actions and their consequences, before learning and adapting to contextual changes and environment feedbacks. As a way to evolve and get better in our life. Again how real is that?

So true worldchanging games are still to be developed... to make a real change and help people being aware we're all anarchists, cause we all seek freedom, comfort and harmony in a chaotic world.

Posted by: Yves Grassioulet on 5 Jan 05



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