Games for Change (also known as G4C) is a movement and community of practice dedicated to using digital games for social change. It is also a sub-genre of the larger genre of serious games, along with other sub-genres such as newsgames and educational games. An individual game may also be referred to as a "game for change" if it is produced by this community or shares its ideals. "Games for Change" is also the name for the non-profit organization which is building the field by providing support, visibility, and shared resources to individuals and organizations using digital games for social change. The organization curates a continuously growing body of “digital and non-digital games that engage contemporary social issues in a meaningful way.”
The game Sweatshop is an example of a past digital game curated by the Games for Change organization. Launched in 2011 by Littleloud, it is strategy game about offshore clothing manufacturing. The player plays the role of a factory manager responsible for hiring workers, completing store orders, and meeting the demands of clients while trying to balance ethical decisions with rising demands. The game has 30 levels that increase in difficulty and complexity, and introduce new worker types and real-world sweatshop problems such as fires, unions and the lack of toilets that add authenticity to the game mechanics. The game utilizes the mechanics of tower defense, which have been used in many entertainment games such as Plants vs. Zombies. In Sweatshop, the clothing materials on the conveyor belt can be likened to “enemies”, and the factory workers who turn the materials into finished product can be seen as the defending “troops”. The use of tower defense mechanics allows the player to strategize how they will meet client demands in each level. The player must choose either to keep the workers safe and satisfied or sacrifice their well-being for factory efficiency, and because of these difficult decisions the game has been known for its ability to evoke guilt in players. Many players have reported their struggle to keep workers safe when trying to win more difficult levels. Littleloud worked with the British charity Labour Behind The Label to ensure the game was factually accurate, but due to controversy over its factual approach the game was eventually removed from the Apple App store.
- "Gaming Wins New Advocates". The NonProfit Times. November 1, 2006. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
- "Games For Change Games". www.gamesforchange.org. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- "Games For Change Sweatshop". www.gamesforchange.org. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- "Sweatshop - Littleloud". littleloud.com. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- "Human Dignity and the Bottom Line: Sweatshop". gamechurch.com. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- Morais, Betsy (2012-12-07). "Anthropological Video Games". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
- "Sweatshop HD no longer available in the App Store - Littleloud". littleloud.com. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
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- Parker, Laura (21 April 2014). "Games for Change Uses Video Games for Social Projects" – via NYTimes.com.
- Crecente, Brian (22 April 2014). "Games for Change 2014: How gaming can change everything". Polygon.
- Wawro, Alex. "Games For Change challenges devs to pitch games about diversity & debt".