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What Good Can Games Do? Games For Good

James “Extra Credits” Portnow wants to change the conversation. Recognising that we spend too much time defending games as they are, and not enough investigating how gaming can be explored as a space for actively doing good, his Games For Good is looking to make a difference in the next year. Working alongside the Global Game Jam people, as well as attempting to forge links between funding bodies and developers, GFG looks like a concerted effort to move things forward. They’re fundraising, obviously, but awareness raising too.

The ultimate goal seems to be to help more socially conscious games get made. And more importantly, good ones. Portnow has said that he will dedicate the next year to this project, putting aside all other projects except for Extra Credits, in order to make this happen. To fund this, the project is after $50,000, of which it’s already made more than half.

I’m not sure if James Portnow’s gentle voice is because he’s hypnotising me into giving his project money, or because a baby was asleep in the next room, but either way his calming, emphatic speech is convicting. I’m especially pleased to see the focus on reaching out to politicians to create relationships, rather than for the development industry to continue purely antagonistically with the political world. The idea that government representatives might know to whom to direct their questions in future sounds extremely important, and hopefully will allow communication to occur before things become a battle.

We’re told that the plans for the Global Game Jam are already well under way, so that’s something to look toward with interested eyebrows. However, I’m even more interested to track the progress of linking funding organisations to developers. The money is out there, and it would be fantastic to see it reach the real talent who could use it.

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John Walker


Once one of the original co-founders of Rock Paper Shotgun, they killed me out of jealousy. I now run

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