At this year’s G4C Festival, Tracy Fullerton, head of the Games Innovation Lab and Lishan AZ, a 2017 graduate of USC’s Interactive Entertainment MFA program, received awards for their unique games on social justice issues and conscious, meditative living. They were recognized by the festival host, Games for Change, an organization with a history of promoting games that not only entertain, but also impact society through education, healthcare and social justice issues.
Fullerton’s game received the Game of the Year and Most Significant Impact award from the festival. In Walden, a game, Fullerton challenges players to survive Thoreau’s first year in the wilderness and find a balance between survival and seeking out the beauty of nature. The game asks players to create their own narrative and experience. Unlike many mainstream games that deliver a cultivated, game experience — it is up to the player to find beauty. “It’s really an honor to be recognized for a game that subverts the idea of gaming,” said Manolo Rosenberg, QA on Walden, a game.
Additionally, AZ’s Tracking Ida, recipient of the Best Gameplay award, educates players on Ida B. Wells’s investigative journalism surrounding lynching during the 1890s. Players roleplay as investigative journalists, solve puzzles, and use social media to spread awareness of racial oppression.
Both Tracking Ida and Walden, a game, deliver unique experiences to players that do more than entertain. Players see life in a new fashion by the end of their play and are encouraged to take their new perspective to impact their communities in a positive way. USC Games is proud to support Lishan AZ and Tracy Fullerton as they impact the world through games.