purple_ribbonThis isn’t about whether or not games lead to domestic violence. There are studies and counter-studies for that. (some facts) The only recent case of a game directly leading to domestic violence that I know of was a game of Monopoly.

Some people consider tackling the subject of domestic violence using a game to be trivializing the issue. This is nonsense, of course; they think this only because they associate games with mindless entertainment, not considering the educational value of games.

These educational effects should make people realize that games that train you in, or expose you to, the subjects tackled in the game. Games that glorify immoral behavior are not “learning tools” or “conversation starters”; they are a deliberate flouting of social morals. The conversations they start don’t justify their existence; they point out reasons to shun these games.

Good educational games expose players to the issues people face and the better choices they can make, rewarding those choices. Or, at least, cause players to empathize with the victims of bad behavior, rather than the perpetrators.

There are no widely available games on the topic of domestic violence. However:

  • Rani Kumar, an activist in NSW, has developed a board game Love-life on the topic which is aimed at children aged 13-16 in public schools. (source)
  • Carol Tonner created a board game for domestic violence victims called “It’s Your Move” for an organization called Red Flag, Green Flag (now defunct). (source)
  • The Monopoly-clone Denver on Board was developed as a fundraiser for a Denver Safe House, which serves victims of domestic violence. (source)
  • Video games: RePlay by Metrac and Breaking the Cycle by Artemis Center.
  • A project called Empowering Play by students at The Emergent Media Center at Champlain College. Blog.