Gamers get serious about change

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Gamers get serious about change


A USC student using technology at the University’s Engage Lab.

19 November 2015

Serious Games students at the University of the Sunshine Coast will demonstrate how games can be used to inspire social change at an interactive event on campus on Friday 20 November.

While most video games take a large team of artists, programmers and designers years to make, USC Serious Games tutor Colleen Stieler-Hunt said student teams were given just weeks to develop their own prototypes that have a serious purpose beyond just entertainment.

“Ten groups of students have each created video games around topics that have meaning to them, such as Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, the experience of people with Asperger’s syndrome or drug addiction,” she said.

“There is also a fitness game that incorporates the Xbox Kinect full body game controller, one that uses the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to conquer a fear of heights, and an adventure for the public at next year’s USC Imaginarium (Open Day).”

Students will demonstrate their games at a showcase event at 6.30pm on 20 November 2015 at the Engage Research Lab (E1.31) and media are invited to attend and see these bright minds in action.

During the showcase, students will give a “pitch” presentation to a panel of judges, including USC staff and local industry representative Nicole Stark, co-founder of Disparity Games.

Ms Stieler-Hunt said the event would allow her students to present their final assessment pieces to peers, guests and judges.

“Although the video games are at only prototype stage, I am impressed with the range of serious topics the students have addressed and the quality of their prototypes, especially given that many of them have never created a video game before,” she said.

The event, which is not open to the public, will make the most of the interactive technologies available in the Engage Research Lab, in the Sippy Downs Learning and Teaching Hub (Building E).

USC will next year offer a Bachelor of Serious Games in addition to its existing Bachelor of Creative Industries majoring in Serious Games Development or Design.

— Jarna Baudinette

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