Thursday, September 18, 2008

Profit Seed: Serious Games Explore Issues Surrounding GMOs

Serious Games creating socially-responsible interactions


Via: TiltfactorGame Design For Social Change

Profit Seed is an exploration of 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 the mouse to control the wind, trying 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.



Profit Seed was designed using the Values At Play curriculum which can be used to design activist games or simply novel games with unusual mechanics.

The key to the VAP project is a focus on human values in games. “The initial prototype came out of working with Tracy Fullerton [of USC] and Celia Pierce [of Georgia Tech] at the Digital Games Research Association conference,” said Dr. Mary Flanagan, designer of the game and Director of the Tiltfactor Lab. “The idea was then further developed at Tiltfactor because of the lab members’ interest in the international controversy surrounding GMO crops

The project is a collaboration between the Tiltfactor Lab and members of the Rochester Institute of Technology game design program.

About Tiltfactor
The Tiltfactor Laboratory is the first academic center to focus on social activist games.

Their mission is to research and develop software and art that creates rewarding, compelling, and socially-responsible interactions, with a focus on inventive game design for social change.

As the first game research lab in New York City, and now housed at Dartmouth College, Tiltfactor creates games for change, educational games, artwork, and social software.

Tiltfactor hopes to make effective interventions in thinking about how games, and software in general, can evolve to take into account social activist principles.

About Values@Play


This game was a product of the
Values at Play project whose ambition is to harness the power of video games in the service of humanistic principles.
Aware of the tremendous and wide-ranging impact games have in our world, the “Values at Play (VAP) research project seeks to assist and encourage designers in creating games that further the understanding and appreciation of such values as equality, diversity, creativity, and many more.

Find also my previous posts Values@Play: Designing Social Values in Serious Games and More On Values@Play: Embodying Values in Serious Games Design