NPR's Marketplace introduced the segment saying, "They're often accused of wasting your time or promoting violence but a conference in New York City this week wants games to be known for something more." The ongoing Games For Change conference is part of the larger Serious Games initiative, but is focused specifically on using games to encourage social change.

NPR profiled three of the games on display at the conference, including:
  • Peace Maker - "a one-player game in which the player can choose to take the role of either the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian President. The player must react to in-game events, from diplomatic negotiations to military attacks, and interact with eight other political leaders and social groups in order to establish a stable resolution to the conflict before his or her term in office ends."
  • A Force More Powerful - "simulates nonviolent struggles to win freedom and secure human rights against dictators, occupiers, colonizers, and corrupt regimes, as well as campaigns for political and human rights for minorities and women. The game models real-world experience, allowing players to devise strategies, apply tactics and see the results."
  • Darfur is Dying - MTV's "narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of his or her refugee camp. It offers a faint glimpse of what it's like for the more than 2.5 million who have been internally displaced by the crisis in Sudan.
A far cry from the hysteria-prone coverage the mainstream media typically adheres to and great exposure for a group of gamers working to not only foster social change, but to evolve the educational potential for video games. Follow coverage of the conference by monitoring the 06-G4C del.icio.us tag.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.