Civic Games with Local Scale (for ASU & White House Conversation)

My white paper with Jeff Watson on “Games for Direct Action” is now open for comments.  We are honored to participate alongside some real luminaries in the field in this “national conversation on games.”  The national conversation is a joint venture of ASU’s Center for Games and Impact, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Our contribution emphasizes the civic implication of games, and the emerging possibility for games to connect to physical streets and place-based civic engagement. Moreover, we take the rather unusual position of arguing for the benefits of games that actually resist massive uniform scale, and instead achieve impact by deeply embedding within local networks.

Here’s our opening:

Games are beginning to show a capacity for real impact and civic engagement. Consequently, there is a temptation to seek out game designs that can be deployed on a national scale. This is a completely natural impulse: if games can bring about change, why not do it in a big way, and maximize economies of scale? But this impulse hides an important truth: change is often most profound at the city and neighborhood level, between real friends, and with local businesses. For countless civic issues, engagement is best when local — and more games should be too.

Take a look at our full paper — about 3 pages — Jeff and I encourage your comments on that page.  (Note that the document download link is a bit hidden on that page in the parenthesis after our names.)

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