I enjoy playing games for pure enjoyment as much as anyone, but what I appreciate even more is playing a game that delivers more than entertainment.
For example, I’ve long understood that games could deliver education as well as entertainment because I experienced it myself first-hand growing up as a gamer. I learned more about the geography and heraldry of medieval England from playing Avalon Hill’s Kingmaker than I ever did in history classes; I learned more about the advantages and disadvantages of democracies and dictatorships from Sid Meier’s Civilisation than I ever did studying political science; and I owe my ability to speedily type this blog more to Sega’s The Typing of the Dead than any secretarial studies class.
So I was particularly pleased when Paul from fellow UK indies Preloaded contacted me recently to introduce their new Games with Purpose initiative and to say they’d chosen Denki’s very own Quarrel as one of their launch games. Like the Best Serious Game award we received from TIGA last year, it highlights that part of Quarrel we love so much and often see overlooked. As much as I enjoy playing Quarrel myself, the biggest buzz it ever gives me is when I have the opportunity to meet a parent that tells me their son or daughter (who invariably hates spelling and counting at school) loves playing Quarrel. Job done. As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve chosen Game Developer as a profession, rewards don’t come any better than that.
Cynics may say initiatives like Games with Purpose don’t matter, but I disagree. As a developer, it’s often hard to find support for concepts that attempt to sneak a little something extra in along with their entertainment. The fact is it’s still incredibly hard just to build a game that’s entertaining; it’s even harder to build a game that’s fun *and* delivers more, such as learning. People burned by the many sub-standard “edutainment” CD-ROM products they’ve encountered through the years can be understandably wary of games promising more than entertainment, which is exactly where an initiative such as Games with Purpose can help make a difference. Simply knowing there are others striving to deliver more than entertainment and showcasing those that actually achieve it encourages still others, like ourselves at Denki, to aim that little bit higher than they otherwise might. And it’s hard to see how that couldn’t be a good thing.
So, hats of to Preloaded for kicking off their initiative. Be sure to check out the games they’ve highlighted, and they’re also looking for suggestions for other games they should feature, so if you know of any good ones be sure to let them know.
I, for one, hope Denki will be able to contribute many more titles to the list in future. Which gives me an idea for Save the Day…