Thursday, February 21, 2008

Conquering dating violence - Flash game contest

The challenge: Create a flash game to raise awareness about teen dating violence, and here's the caveat ... without using violence. Wrap your game creating brains around that one.

Entries will largely be judged on the game's ability to educate in creative, non-violent ways as well as playability and uniqueness. This top prize is $1000 and entries are due by April 15th, 2008. Read more about the contest rules and find dating violence resources at is dedicated to the life of Jennifer Ann Crecente and to educating others about teen dating violence and its warning signs. Jennifer Ann was murdered in February 2006 by a classmate she was dating.

It's sad to me that I can't imagine many games without violent consequences. Characters fall off cliffs, get hit by fire balls, speared by swords or die in car accidents. The pervasive gaming model is to have 'lives' and losing a certain number of 'lives' then equals the end of the game. In Mario it was three, in Nibbles just one.

I'll be looking forward to seeing the tactic of the game makers that enter. Perhaps characters could be playing to avoid depression or loneliness rather than death. Perhaps as they work towards creating friendships in the game they learn the warning signs of someone likely to be violent.

Ultimately, games can be sticky. Good games are hard to walk away from and players develop strategies in their head even while they're not sitting and playing. An anti dating violence game that can do this would be stupendous.

Thanks to Ian Bogost who led us to this contest. I'm staying tuned.

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