Games for Change announces a new challenge encouraging game designers to create games focused on ‘migration integration.’ Games for Change, which aims to catalyse ‘social impact’ through games, is offering $10,000 to the winning entry.
The organisation has also teamed up with the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit, to put together the contest.
Games for Change Migration Integration Challenge
In a post on the Games for Change website, the organisation says that it is hosting this game design challenge in the hopes that it can “inspire the creation of a game that connects existing and migrating communities.” Open to everyone from all over the world, with no development experience required, it’s looking for games that “engage the players to think about the long term effects and issues of migrant integration in their own lives and communities.”
Games for Change also asks how games can address “concerns over perceived job competition and changes in the cultural fabric” as well as “recognizing the economic, linguistic, and cultural benefits” of immigration. Moreover, “How can a game experience emphasize community engagement to help migrants and their neighbors improve their understanding of each other?”
— Games for Change (@G4C) January 12, 2017
Although Games for Change notes that the integration of migrant populations has “always” been an important issue, arguably, the challenge couldn’t come at a better time. Games such as Project Syria, a VR experience aiming to highlight the struggles faced by refugees, received racist backlash when it landed on Steam, as well as criticism that it wasn’t effective enough at getting its point across.
This, combined with the widely circulated misbelief that anti-immigration sentiment is fuelled by economic concerns (via MIT), shows that there’s a real need to address the other sides of the story in an effective way.
If a game can tackle the misconception that native populations are losing out because of the jobs that migrants and refugees take (and that non-native people are just out to ‘steal’ jobs) as well as the attitudes about national identity and border control that also factor in (via The Wall Street Journal), then it could make a huge difference.
The deadline for entries is February 15, a winner will be selected on March 15. A list of competition guidelines, criteria and the official rules for the contest can be found on Games for Change site, along with links to resources from the Migration Policy Institute.