Top 10 Games for Social Good

The fun, playful way to act for a good cause

Jun 21, 2012

Image by mag3737 on Flickr

The fun, playful way to act for a good cause!

1.TRACES OF HOPE


WHAT 
Meet Joseph: a Ugandan refugee fleeing his war-torn country. He has 24 hours to track down the Red Cross messenger and find out if his mother is alive. You are his saving angel. This interactive game is complete with video, chat, online maps and other perks. 
WHO The British Red Cross (they also have other online games).
WHERE tracesofhope.com
THE CAUSE Spawning awareness and empathy towards civilian victims of political conflict. 

Image: Screenshot of Traces of Hope 

2.FOLD IT


WHAT Foldit is an online series of puzzles that enables players to contribute to scientific research. The puzzles represent various challenges faced by scientists in their quest to solve the mysteries behind protein structure and and design. 
WHO Developed by the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington in collaboration with UW Department of Biochemistry.
WHERE fold.it
THE CAUSE Important scientific research that may result in medical findings. 

Image: Screenshot of Foldit

3. WAY


WHAT Two players on separate screens have to solve a puzzle together, nonverbally. Lacking a common language yet joined by a shared goal, players undergo an emotional shift, climaxing when the puzzle is finally solved. A Games for Change Festival double nominee. 
WHO Coco & Co
WHERE makeourway.com
THE CAUSE Create personal connection.

Image: Screenshot of Way

4.FREE RICE


WHAT Freerice's homepage displays an educational, multiple choice question. For each correct answer, Free Rice donates 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme. The total donation is visually portrayed in an illustration of a bowl of rice filling up with each correct answer. 
WHO Free Rice
WHERE freerice.org
THE CAUSE Helping end hunger in challenged regions worldwide. 

Image: Screenshot of Freerice

5. FARMVILLE


WHAT This is no mistake: the addictive Facebook app, where virtual farms are managed and real time is wasted, offers players opportunities to take Farmville actions that result in donations to various causes. 
WHO Zynga.org
WHERE Facebook, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
THE CAUSE Zynga collaborates with a variety of nonprofits such as Save the Children. Hop over here to learn about others. 

Image: Screenshot of Farmville

6.AOK


WHAT A social game for good, AOK is a platform for posting good deeds - your own or others’. Acts of goodness are rewarded with Cause Currency, which may be  converted into charitable donations.  
WHO A collaborative effort of SHFT (co-founded by Peter Glatzer and actor Adrian Grenier of Entourage fame) , TGO.tv, Ludlow Kingsley, Natron Baxter Applied Gaming and Gameful.org.
WHERE AOK.tv and on the iPhone
THE CAUSE Spreading and rewarding positive actions of all kinds. 

Image: Screenshot of AOK

7.SPENT


WHAT An online game that simulates financial challenges that may result in poverty and homelessness. Beautifully crafted, the game is played solo: with each click of the button the player is presented with a fact and a choice of action (what job do you take? how far from your workplace will you live?). Every choice you make is visibly reflected in a cash barometer, which represents your financial condition. The goal is to achieve financial stability. 
WHO Urban Ministries of Durham and McKinney
WHERE playspent.org
THE CAUSE Raising awareness of poverty and homelessness. 

Image: Screenshot of Spent

8.GBO HAWAI'I


WHAT Dubbed "the first sustainability themed board game for a mass market audience," GBO Hawai'i simulates conducting sustainable business - a green version of Monopoly.
WHO GBO Hawai'i is  a product of GreenBusinessOwner.com.
WHERE Available for purchase online. An iPad app is in the works. 
THE CAUSE Learning and spreading knowledge about sustainability. 

Image: Screenshot of GBO Hawai'i

9.LEMONOPOLY


WHAT A real world game where San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland compete in an effort to share the most lemons and lemon goods. 
WHO Created in Creative Currency Hackathon by Chach Sikes and Anselm Hook.
WHERE The game is managed online at lemonopoly.org, starting July 4, 2012. Activities take place offline. 
THE CAUSE A boost to the local lemon trade in California via neighborly camaraderie.  

Image: Screenshot of Lemonopoly

10.WETOPIA


WHAT This Facebook game that simulates the building of a virtual village, was created for social impact: users can turn points into monetary donations for charities that help families and kids worldwide. Plus, 50% of the company's net profits are returned to their partners to complete social good projects.  
WHO Sojo Studios
WHERE Facebook
THE CAUSE Children’s causes: Save the ChildrenChildren’s Health FundbuildOn and Children’s Miracle Network.

Image: Screenshot of Wetopia

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Love games? Read our list of Good Games to Play with Friends at a Dinner Party.

Karin is a web expert, developing digital products that make good deeds shine. Among other topics, she writes about happiness, education and volunteering.

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