We are living in today a world of unprecedented change in technology, the environment, politics, and economics. As society looks for answers in the media, the creative industries are more needed than ever to create content that can be considered as authentic and credible, which can assist audiences in improving their knowledge of the world they live in.
Film and TV have been regarded as a powerful and valid way to empower, inspire, and educate society on a larger scale. But when it comes to games, as the younger industry grows, we need to consider the role that should be assigned to games when it comes to commenting and reflecting on the world.
With the UK playing host to some 32.4 million gamers, game developers have the chance to offer players a powerful and appropriate way to get closer to challenging subject matter or issues. Game storytelling enables us to shine a spotlight on different people, subjects, and cultures, and one game, Never Alone, achieves just that.
The BAFTA-winning title appears to be a simple yet gorgeous platform. The subject matter, however, 100% unique. The game was created in partnership with Alaska Native elders and storytellers, and lots at the Iñupiat people’s traditional lore. This Native American culture is all over this game and, in fact, it may be the first title to feature an ancient culture in this way. Game developers can learn from this and realise that inspiration for stories are all around us.
Life is Strange
Games enable us to live other people’s lives first hand. Life is Strange, another BAFTA-winning title, sees the user take on the role of a teenage girl in what seems to be an average town. The title changed the entire industry of consequence andstory-based choice games but what makes this one even more unique is how it takes on issues rarely tackled in traditional games. Through both character and story, the game looks at friendship, love, teen pregnancy, suicide, bullying, and identity, which adds depth and authenticity to the overall experience.
A third BAFTA-winning title, Papers, Please is a great example of how empathy can be employed on a game as a core mechanic. The user takes on the part of a border control guard with the ability to let in a communist state. The game focuses on the user’s responsibility in making decisions and these decisions affect others.
Storytellers and game developers have the power to take an audience and show them places they haven’t seen or feel things they’ve never had the opportunity to experience. Arguably, a game’s immersive qualities, as opposed to traditional media, have the ability to provide the most powerful way of achieving this.
That Dragon, Cancer
A fourth BAFTA-winning game, That Dragon, Cancer illustrates this perfectly. The game is autobiographical about a family who is learning to cope with cancer and tells the story through the voices of the family. It’s poetic, heart-breaking, and honest, and explores themes of love, hope, and faith. It may even rank among this century’s most important games.