上周，我有幸参加了9th Annual Games for Change Festival，这是在纽约大学Skirball Center持续举行3天的活动，主要着眼于利用娱乐和互动服务社会利益。Games for Change是纽约最大的游戏聚会；过去8年来，活动汇聚来自数字游戏领域的游戏热衷者及代表人士，同时还有教师、活动分子、决策者和基金会。
现在无论从哪个层面看，我都不是游戏玩家。我的电子游戏体验仅限于10岁时看我爸爸玩《暗黑破坏神》（当他探索迷宫，向怪兽施加魔法时，我会叫他关掉音乐——因为音乐实在太吓人了）。毋庸置疑，我夹杂着距离感和恐惧感参加了Games for Change。游戏设计（游戏邦注：就连包含社会变革使命的游戏设计）似乎和我的纪录片世界毫无关系。
但G4C（Games for Change的缩写）让我大吃一惊。3天的座谈会和演讲（演讲者包括雅达利创始人Nolan Bushnell和来自SuperBetterLabs的世界著名游戏设计师Jane McGonigal）充分表明，游戏和纪录片世界并无多大差别。数字游戏设计师面临许多纪录片制作人也经常遇到的问题。就如我们之前在博客中谈到的，这归根结底就是探究如何吸引你的用户。
1. 不要太枯燥：这也许有点显而易见，但社会问题媒介的创建者积极寻求教育和娱乐之间的平衡点。座谈小组成员强调，教训主义无法带来改变——若用户觉得自己被说教，他们会丧失兴趣，无论信息多么强有力。就如娱乐软件协会主席Michael Gallagher所说的，“游戏应富有趣味：这是基本指令。我们应积极制作迷人的游戏，即便主题事件非常严肃。”关注社会的纪录片制作人应记住：首先要讲述有趣故事。
2. 将其变得具有互动性：在Jane McGonigal看来，游戏能够改变世界。她表示，它们的力量来自于互动性；游戏过程包含一定程度的互动性。制作人会在自己的作品中植入类似的互动性，通过运用跨媒体和自定义视觉体验。这是新数字技术时代；玩家和制作人都应充分利用这一技术。
3. 着眼于“为什么”：LittleLoud游戏主管Simon Parkin提醒游戏设计师不要以职业倡导者的姿态应对自己的工作。虽然社会问题游戏和纪录片本身包含某种特定观点，但探索问题的“原因”远比说教更有趣。Parkin以LittleLoud的游戏《Sweatshop》为例：虽然游戏最终积极呈现血汗工厂如何给工人们带来伤害，但血汗工厂将玩家置于工厂老板的角色，旨在促使他们理解血汗工厂机制的复杂性。由于游戏要求玩家要精于创造利润，他们最终会将虚拟工人置于越来越严酷的环境之下，延长工作时间。接触问题双方让玩家更好领会到机制的压力和人力成本选择。通过查看更大背景和所处理问题的复杂性（游戏邦注：是“为什么”，而不是“是什么”），制片人能够更好吸引用户眼球。
4. 以改变行为为目标：社会问题纪录片受到的最典型批评声音是，虽然它们能够显著提高问题的公众意识，但它们通常未能向公众提供相应解决方案。纽约科技馆SciPlay研究副主任Michelle Riconscente基于游戏背景谈及这一问题，展示巧妙融入关键行动元素的游戏。GameDesk的Dojo旨在帮助处于危险中的青少年控制压力和愤怒情绪。Dojo无法告知玩家情感控制非常重要。相反，游戏利用检测玩家心率和呼吸的生物反馈硬件。玩家需要利用他们学到的具体压力控制技术，方能战胜挑战，因为他们的物理反应会持续被测量。显然，制作人不会在观众身上安装特殊的脉搏反馈装置。但Dojo清楚说明，以社会变革为目标的媒介如何改变用户行为，前提是提供适当行动步骤。
Game Design and Making Docs: There’s More in Common Than You Might Think
by Emma Miller
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 9th Annual Games for Change Festival, a three-day event at NYU’s Skirball Center focused on leveraging entertainment and engagement for social good. Games for Change is the largest games gathering in New York City; for the past eight years, it’s been bringing gaming enthusiasts and representatives from the digital games industry together with educators, activists, policymakers, and foundations.
Now, I’m not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination. My experience with video games is mostly limited to watching my dad play Diablo when I was ten. (I’d ask him to turn the sound off while he explored labyrinths and cast spells on monsters — the music was just too scary.) Needless to say, I went into Games for Change with a mixture of distance and trepidation. Game design — even game design with a social change mission — seemed unrelated to my world of documentary work.
But G4C, as the festival is known in shorthand, surprised me. Three days of panels and presentations by speakers like Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and world-renowned game designer Jane McGonigal of SuperBetterLabs revealed that the gaming and documentary worlds are not so different after all. Digital game designers are grappling with many of the same issues that documentary filmmakers face on a regular basis. As we’ve discussed on this blog before, it all comes down to figuring out how to engage your audience.
Here are four tips culled from the festival that might help documentarians do just that:
1. Don’t be boring: This might seem obvious, but creators of social-issue media often struggle to strike a balance between educating and entertaining. Panelists stressed that didacticism is no way to effect change — if audiences feel like they’re being lectured, they’ll lose interest, no matter how powerful the message. As Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher put it, “Games should be fun: it’s the prime directive. We should all endeavor to make games that are engaging, even if the subject matter is serious.” Socially-minded documentarians might keep this in mind: telling an interesting story should come first and foremost.
2. Make it interactive: Jane McGonigal believes that games have the ability to change the world. Their power, she says, lies in their interactivity; a level of engagement is inherent in the process of play. Filmmakers might harness a similar interactive potential in their own work through the use of transmedia and customizable viewer experiences. It’s an era of new digital technology; both gamers and filmmakers should capitalize on it. (Sidenote: if you’re itching to work on your own interactive doc project, it’s not too late to apply to participate in our POV Hackathon!)
3. Focus on the “why”: Simon Parkin, head of games for LittleLoud, warned game designers against approaching their work as advocates for a cause. Although social-issue games and documentaries inherently have a point of view, exploring the “why” of an issue is more interesting than sermonizing. Parkin cited LittleLoud’s game Sweatshop as an example: although the game ultimately strives to show how sweatshops are harmful to workers, Sweatshop places the player in the position of a manufacturing boss in order to promote an understanding of the complexities of the sweatshop systems. As players are asked to excel at making profits, they end up imposing increasingly harsh conditions and long hours on their virtual workers. This exposure to both sides of the issue allows players to better appreciate systemic pressures and the human cost of choices. By examining the larger context and complexities of the topics they tackle — the “why” rather than the “what” — documentarians might also engage their audiences more successfully.
4. Aim to change behaviors: A classic criticism of social-issue docs is that while they can be great at raising awareness about a problem, they often fail to offer audiences solutions on how to take action. Michelle Riconscente, deputy director of research for SciPlay at the NY Hall of Science, addressed this issue in the context of game design by presenting an example of a game that does a great job of tying in that critical action component. GameDesk’s Dojo aims to help at-risk youth manage stress and anger. But Dojo doesn’t just teach players that emotional control is important. Instead, the game employs biofeedback hardware that actually monitors changes in players’ heartrate and breathing. Players have to employ the specific stress-management techniques they learn in order to beat challenges, as their physical reactions are constantly being measured. Obviously, documentarians aren’t going to start fitting viewers with special pulse feedback devices. But Dojo serves as a powerful example of how media with an aim at social change can actually alter behavior in its audiences, if steps for action are appropriately provided.
I left G4C invigorated, ready to make some docs and play some games. (Daddy, mail me Diablo, okay? I’m a big girl now.) After all, as McGonigal put it in her 2010 TEDTalk, gaming can make a better world. I’m convinced that documentaries can, too.（Source：pbs.org）