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Web / Download, Social Impact

Fort McMoney by David Dufresne

fortMcMoney

Fort McMoney is a point and click adventure that puts you into the heart of the moral dilemma that is the Canadian oil business. McMoney uses documentary footage to add a deep sense of realism to the game. Taking on the role of environmental detective you meet and greet everyone concerned from the native inhabitants to the executives and politicians that are driving the oil business deep in the Albertan countryside. The framework of the game encourages users to debate the issues with the wider community and for once you get the feeling that there is enough information available in the game to fuel a really constructive dialogue.

Why we love it:

  • Modern take on the point and click adventure
  • Hours of fascinating documentary footage
  • Links to debating forum where the topic can be explored further

Play it online

Fraxinus by Team Cooper & The Sainsbury Laboratory

fraxinus

In the UK Ash trees are being attacked by a serious disease leaving some of the country’s few remaining ancient woodlands in serious danger. Fraxinus is a Facebook game that uses the tree’s real genetic data, and challenges the player to manipulate patterns to match sequences. The game capitalises on human’s capacity for pattern recognition and gives scientists a helping hand sorting the genome of the Ash tree in pursuit of a cure for the disease.

Why we love it:

  • Strong social network integration.
  • Very accessible version of this type of game.
  • Moreish and meaningful.

Play it on Facebook

dys4ia by Anna Anthropy

dys4ia

Dys4ia is a gamified experience about hormone replacement therapy. The controls are very simple – just the arrow keys – and the starkness of the gameplay and the lo-fi aesthetic allow the content to shine through. The game’s creator is making headway in an otherwise unexplored and totally niche area of videogames. It’s like queer WarioWare and is at turns funny, frustrating, informative, and touching.

Why we love it:

  • Game based on real experiences and events.
  • Simple retro styling enhances the message.
  • Witty and moving in equal measure.

Play it online (free)

Papers, Please by Lucas Pope

papersPlease

Papers, Please is a ‘Dystopian Document Thriller’ set on the border of a fictional Eastern Bloc country, Arstotzka. The premise seems simple: accept or deny those who wish to come in to the country based on news bulletins, terrorist attacks, international relations, inconsistencies in their documents and, of course, your own morals. Mistakes, unintentional or not, cost money you can ill afford with a family at home who are sick and hungry.

Why we love it:

  • Gratifyingly physical stamping and scanning.
  • Unexpected statements on gender performances.
  • An eye-opening exploration of struggles on conflicted borders.

Get it on Steam or download it here

The Republia Times by Lucas Pope

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The Republia Times is a flash game about running the content of a state-owned newspaper under the influence of an overbearing government. The challenge is to please your leaders while also printing balanced articles, and answering to desperate pleas from your rebellious fellow countrymen. Developed originally for the Ludum Dare challenge, the game is very basic, but clearly conveys a strong message about politics and the media.

Why we love it:

  • Immerses you straight in to the game challenge.
  • A powerful message about usage of the media as a tool.
  • Lo-fi aesthetic allows the content to shine through.

Play it online (free)

Way by Coco & Co

way

Way is a free downloadable co-operative 2-player game which, like other games in its genre (Portal 2, Spelunky, Ilomilo etc.), is all about cooperation and communication. The puzzles are simple, but the feeling of achievement is high as you work your way through the game with your anonymous partner. There are moments that you will have to be your partner’s eyes and communicate only through gesture, so here’s a word of warning – you’ll be screaming at the screen!

Why we love it:

  • Simple controls make it suitable for all.
  • Encourages trust and connection through teamwork.
  • A deeply ‘human’ experience.

Download it free for Mac or Windows

Oiligarchy by Molleindustria

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Oiligarchy is a satirical browser based strategy game in which you play the head of a global oil company; drilling, exploring, hiring mercenaries and manipulating governments to make money. Your decisions create reactions around the world, but there is no way to play this game that doesn’t reflect the unpleasantness of the industry and the international wealth that is bound to it. Oiligarchy makes a complex subject accessible, and its message is politically and environmentally resonant.

Why we love it:

  • Complex gameplay with a dark humour.
  • Illustrates interconnections of global events.
  • Features a plausible near-future in a bold political statement.

Play it online (free)

Every Day The Same Dream by Molleindustria

everydaythesame

Every Day The Same Dream is a philosophy in action. It’s a browser based game in which you play a faceless, nameless everyman, repeating his day to day actions over and over again. Intentionally pushing the boundaries of boredom and repetition with its stark monochromatic art style it manages to communicate that life is what you make it, you are only as trapped as you feel and to change the things you hate now. For all its bleakness, its message is positive, and much welcomed.

Why we love it:

  • Has an emotive and politicised message which will resonate with most.
  • Unpretentious gameplay makes it accessible to all.
  • Effortless merge of art and gaming.
  • The music is awesome!

Play it online (free)

Spent by McKinney

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Spent is a browser based game about living on the poverty line in the US. You’ve lost your job and your home, and you’re a single parent. You’re down to your last $1,000 and you need to find an income and somewhere to live, pronto. You finally get a job, but through facing a series of believable situations you realise that your wages cannot sustain you and that you’re sinking in to financial quicksand. Can you last the month?

Why we love it:

  • Taboo subject tackled head on.
  • Evokes a genuine emotional response.
  • Opportunity to make charitable donation.

Play it online (free)

Quandary by Learning Games Network & Fable Vision

quandary

Quandary is a space travel themed game about diplomacy and ethical decision making. As the leader of a new human colony, the player must make decisions to which there is no clear right or wrong answer. Citizen dialogues, opinions, and facts are offered as tools to help the process. Despite the potentially hefty subject matter, the game breaks decision making down into a fun and very absorbing activity, with rich visuals, atmospheric sound and believable writing.

Why we love it:

  • Introduces decision making skills that are real life applicable.
  • Fun, challenging game despite the potentially dry content.
  • Art and sound create an immersive, believable game world.

Play it online (free)