All games consist of four basic traits—goals (what is the goal of the game),
rules (how to play the game), a feedback system (to let players know if they are
reaching their goals), and voluntary participation. So think about these four traits
when discussing the questions below.
For your game review, you can pretend you are writing for a gaming magazine or
website/blog; or you can pretend you are writing for something like a parenting or
1. Discuss and review the game from the list that you chose.
• What game was it and what was its format (meaning puzzle game, exploration game, arcade style game, simulation game etc…)?
• What was the goal of the game (creating empathy, understanding, interconnectedness; or educational– raise a social issue or issue of diversity, news related, health related etc…)?
• Who do you think the target audience for the game is? (gamers, kids, families, educational platforms like schools etc…).
• Did it work as an engaging game, if so or if not why? What was the game’s purpose and was that effectively relayed in the game play?
• What kind of feedback system did the game use to let you know if you are reaching your goals or not?
2. Most of the games on the list received awards for not just their
educational value, but their ability to create empathy/compassion/companionship.
• After playing the game yourself, what are your feelings about the game’s ability to create empathy or understanding, and/or social awareness—again, most of the games on Games for Change will deal with real world issues like climate change and mental health, for example, so the focus will be more on educational impact rather than empathy.
• What awards, if any, did the game you play win?
• What kinds of reviews from players, media, trade journals say about the
game you played? Google will be your friend here 😀
3. Consider the impact of the art style, music, narrative.
• How did the art style and music impact that narrative (storyline). Did these elements work well for the game?
• How did these elements support the game or drive the game. For example, if you consider a game like Never Alone, how does the music, the voice overs, the art work etc…create impact for the player as they navigate not just the game play, but the Alaskan landscape?
• Not all games will be this visually and narrative driven as Journey and Never Alone, but still these elements do inform the game play of most games. Is the art style beautiful, compelling, or child-like and cartoonish? Think about the art in terms of the kind of game it is.
• What was the story line, or was the game more focused on educating the player?
• Remember video games are as much about the art style, soundtrack, and storyline as they are about the actual game play and game mechanics, so don’t discount these aspects of the game you played.
4. Finally, how was playing the game FOR YOU, and would you recommend the game— and if so, to what demographic? What did you learn (if anything), what did you like about the game, find interesting or compelling, or what didn’t work for you? For example, if the game you played was clunky or not well rendered in terms of ease of play and keeping your interest.