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Social Impact

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

oil

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

playspent

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)

Cart Life by Richard Hofmeier

cartlife

Cart Life is a management sim which places the player in the shoes of a street vendor as they struggle to earn a living. The player can choose between three different characters each with their own personal challenges, and set over the course of a week, travel around GeorgeTown meeting locals in an attempt to shift stock and make ends meet. A bleak but reflective game which underlines the challenges of modern existence.

Why we love it:

  • Challenging and powerful experience.
  • Superb sound track.
  • The moody grey-scale pixel art.

Download it here (PC only)

Sweatshop by Littleloud

sweatshop_alt

Set in an offshore factory, Sweatshop is a social impact game confronting the ethics of using cheap labour to produce affordable goods for Western markets. To win in the game means making difficult choices which can impact on the rights of your workers and the demands of your clients. It shows how easy it is to reduce human beings to simple business assets. Sweatshop is a game that makes you think about the origin of the clothes you buy.

Why we love it:

  • Slick game design & retro chiptune sound.
  • Challenging subject matter made accessible.
  • The game makes you think about the bigger picture.

Play it online (Free)