The Public Affairs Section of the U. S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur of the U. S. Department of State announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to develop and implement a Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Regional Workshop on Designing Games that Drive Social Change, to be held
in Malaysia (Penang or Kuala Lumpur) pending the availability of funding.
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The proposed workshop will focus on introducing existing and aspiring young game developers to the concept of designing games for social change and equipping them with the technical and narrative skill sets to design compelling interactive experiences.
The program should also provide participants with nuanced background knowledge on critical social issues facing their communities that could be highlighted through a gaming medium.
Proposals should seek to convene 60-70 skilled gaming industry professionals and game design students for a four-day program comprised of a two-day workshop led by American and local experts on designing games with social messages, followed by a two-day game jam during which participants form teams and conceptualize games that could address pressing issues facing the ASEAN region.
Some examples of topics that games could raise awareness of include (but are not limited to) climate change, trafficking-in-persons, disinformation, civic engagement, and diversity and inclusion.
Program proposals should also integrate a final pitching competition and budget funding that allows selected games to be developed to completion.
The ASEAN region is home to a massively burgeoning gaming industry, one staffed predominantly by a youth demographic willing to utilize their technical and narrative skills to impact their communities and region.
At the same time, reports estimate the region is home to 126 million gamers who can all be reached through this medium which offers unparalleled interactivity and player agency that can facilitate the delivery of messages on topics including climate change, human trafficking, and civic engagement, among many others.
In the same way that programs in the past have sought to build capacity among filmmakers, media, musicians, and documentarians, this program would enhance the capacity and ability of game makers, storytellers, and digital artists to employ their unique skills to achieve social change.
In addition to sessions with expert game designers and narrative specialists, program proposals should also integrate sessions with local experts on the challenges facing communities in Southeast Asia who can offer thoughts on how gamification could help them to better advocate for their causes and tell their story.