Is Citizen Science Gaming the next “level up” for social impact games?

Though the work of designers, educators, philanthropists and health and humanitarian organizations, there has been a clear rise in social impact games since 2000. These games, which represent a diversity of cultures, are spearheaded by the annual Games for Change Conference in New York City which is currently in its 12th edition. Every year, it presents different social impact styles and interdisciplinary media crossings from politically militant LARPers1 , interactive documentarians as well as counter-prejudice board games. Researchers can now observe this phenomenon and its concerns for political governance since the US Office of Science and Technology Policy posted a call on their blog asking citizens to propose “Games that Can Change the World” in 2014. In parallel with these movements, a context of rapid technological evolution has encouraged increased
citizen feedback and participation in all sorts of accessible and creative ways.

Youths now interact and have the option to ‘word up’, interfere and be more active regarding online messages thanks to the evolution and mobility of technology. The gaming world is definitely gaining possibilities for online participation in this regard, from massive multiplayers games to modding, hacking and machinima.

These games are now recognized for their impact as well as being important tools for the instilment of values, awareness and creativity. Could projects like Citizen Science be the future of gaming and social participation? Can the playful attitude of gamers mesh with global citizenship and volunteer engagement? Can game design be a ‘method of inquiry’2 ? Taking inspiration from Zooniverse, Citizen Sort, Foldit, and the going MMOS project by Eve Online game designers, this paper will look more closely at this as of yet untapped power to act collectively from the perspective of motivation by citizens and players to forecast the future of crossing participatory design disciplines.

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