Serious Games Directory

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Click on the picture to play!

ITEMS ADDED: Jan 27, 2015

This page is dedicated to the many experiments in “serious gaming,” a catch-all term that focuses on games about real world issues in an attempt to either educate players or to entertain using real world ideas as a context for storytelling. These games run the gamut in terms of type: you have your basic quizzes, your choose-your-own-adventure-style games, and your full-blown simulation games.

News games also fall into this category. Consider these games works of journalism using a game as the medium for storytelling.

The list below is updated irregularly as I run across new works. If I’m missing something, please let me know so I can add it to the directory.

Journalism Games Directory

Quiz/Prediction Games

Breaking News/Developing Story Examples

Data-Driven Interactives

Choose-Your-Own Adventure-Style

  • Are you a Slut?: An interactive quiz-based game to determine how “slutty” you are. Mother Jones
  • Can I Get Pregnant?: Another great quiz/CYOA game from MoJo. Mother Jones
  • Fearless: An interactive documentary exploring sexual harassment of women in India. Excellent work. Avni Nijhawan
  • Getting Rid of Citizens United: An interactive quiz-based game showing different tracks to overturn Citizens United decision. Mother Jones
  • Got Swine?An interactive quiz-like game exploring whether you should seek medical attention for the flu. North By Northwestern
  • The Candidate: A game I made where you play a congressional candidate running for office in 2014. Bayreporta
  • Pirate Fishing: An interactive documentary exploring illegal fishing off the coast of Sierra Leone. Al Jazeera
  • The Curfew: Futuristic game that discusses contemporary issues of civil liberties and security in England. Channel 4 (UK)
  • SPENT: Player has to survive a month after being laid off; U.K.-based game. Urban Ministries of Durham
  • Survive 125: A game much like SPENT that instead focuses on extreme poverty in India. Live 58 

Strategy and Simulation

  • 21DEC2012: Here is a funny game exploring the 2012 Mayan apocalypse scenario. It’s a tough game. Alkemi Games
  • Climate Challenge: A cool and simple strategy game where you play the President of Europe tasked with reducing emissions. BBC
  • Climate DefenseTower defense-style game allowing player to fight climate change. Two modes of realism. Game the News
  • Cutthroat Capitalism: Strategy game that simulates piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Wired Magazine
  • Darfur is Dying: Strategy game that simulates dynamics of refugee camps and aid in Darfur. MTV
  • Data Dealer: Think you have what it takes to collect people’s personal data online? Austria-based Team
  • Decisions on Deadline: A strategy game where you play a budding journalist who is faced with ethical dilemmas. A companion to the documentary “A Fragile Trust.” Samantha Grant
  • Eskom Energy Planner: The Sim City of energy-focused urban planning. Formula D
  • * NEW * Forest Flip: Developed during the DataLore hackathon, focuses on land distribution conflicts using board game-style mechanics. Forest Flip Team
  • Helicopter BenA funny game where you play Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke as you try to prevent economic apocalypse. Wall Street Journal
  • MTV Fantasy Election ’12’: This game will allow players to create a fantasy team of candidates to track over the 2012 races. MTV
  • Game Dev Story: Strategy game that simulates running a video game company. Kariosoft
  • Gauging Your Distraction: Awesome NYT game that tests how well you can drive while being distracted. There’s an Easter Egg too. New York Times
  • Endgame: Syria: An interesting attempt to make a strategy game about Syrian Civil War in two weeks. Game the News
  • Food Import Follie: Strategy game that simulates the evolution of how the FDA inspects food imports. New York Times
  •  HeartSaver: A fast-paced game by ProPublica where you try and save people having heart attacks. ProPublica
  • Killer Flu: Strategy game that simulates the difference between the seasonal flu and swine flu. Persuasive Games
  • Kuma War: Real-world simulations of actual modern battles; U.S.-centric. Kuma Games
  • McDonald’s World: Strategy game that simulates running a transnational fast food company. La Molleindustria 
  • Migrant Trail: A game acommanying the documentary “The Undocumented” where you try to safely cross the border from Mexico. Gigantic Mechanic
  • Oiligarchy: Strategy game that simulates energy politics through the lens of running an American oil company. La Molleindustria 
  • Phone Story: A puzzle game educating players about the life of a smartphone, from raw resource to disposal. Banned by Apple. La Molleindustria
  • Point of Entry: Strategy game that simulates immigration and the process of citizenship. New York Times
  • Quandary: Flex your critical thinking and ethical dilemma muscles in this colonization game. Learning Games Network
  • The Redistricting Game: Strategy game that simulates politics involved with redistricting. USC Game Innovation Lab
  • The Republia Times: Keep public opinion on your side by controlling what content is published in the state newspaper. Lucas Pope
  • September 12th: A game that editorializes on the tedium of the War on Terror. Newsgaming.com
  • Sweatshop: Strategy game that simulates a sweatshop-style manufacturing plant, modeled after tower defense games. Channel 4 (UK)
  • Windfall: Strategy game that simulates building wind power in an attempt to make it profitable. Persuasive Games

Parody

  • Disaffected: Parody game about Kinkos and customer relations. Persuasive Games
  • LayoffPuzzle game where player matches like professions for downsizing; criticizes American bank bailouts. R.I.T.
  • Super Mario Bros. BP Oil Spill: Parody on BP Oil Spill where Mario has to plug the leaks with fish. Newgrounds

Other

  • AstrophysicistsAn interactive journey exploring the story of a nomad planet. Wired Magazine
  • Cops Verse Streakers: Those damn streakers are at it again! Try to stop them, or try to evade the cops…naked! North By Northwestern
  • Cow CrusherThe agony of industrial meat production. Sometimes, horse meat gets in the mix… Game the News
  • Glowracer: A driving game exploring the idea of Smart Highways, roadways that glow-in-the-dark. Wired Magazine
  • Juego Los 33: Puzzle game about saving the Chilean miners trapped inside mine. Root33
  • Kettle: Puzzle game about using police to kettle protesters; U.K.-based. increpare
  • Madrid: A somber game where the player has to maintain the flames burning in memory of Madrid bombings. Newsgaming.com
  • Mortal Kombat: Obama vs Romney: A wacky debate game where you have to have quick typing skills to win. Huffington Post
  • My Cotton Picking Life: A tedious game meant to communicate child exploitation in Uzbekistan. Game the News
  • Parable of the Polygons:Puzzle game meant to be a commentary on segregation in society. Vi Hart and Nicky Case
  • Save the Rhino!: A Cabal!-inspired game where you play a South African soldier hunting poachers. Wired Magazine
  • SpaceX: A puzzle game exploring the concept of the SpaceX experimental rocket. Wired Magazine

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