Videogames are the perfect way to relax, to forget about your daily issues and just have a good time and be silly for a little while.

That is perfectly fine. But sometimes games can be much more than that. They can inspire you, change your life, help you bond with friends and family and reach a potential never imagined by their developers.

This is why I found incredibly powerful and meaningful the message sent by the latest Summer Game Jam hosted by SPSU this last weekend in collaboration with Jennifer Ann’s Group.

The idea was to have a great time creating games but with a strong subject in mind: “Preventing teen dating violence through Awareness, Education, and Advocacy.

Those are the words of Drew Crecente, Founder and Executive Director of Jennifer Ann’s Group. I urge you to check their site and learn a little more about this common place tragedy that shows its ugly face in every corner of our society.

As you may imagine it is complicated to create games that avoid violence and present an educational message on a complicated and painful subject, but 50 brave souls dedicated their weekend to have a great time with games and creating some cool games that you can check in the Jam’s page.

Here are the games that were made:

  • Support. Winners of the Jam.(Aaron Kauffman, Daniel Gagnon, Davis Odom, Evan Henry, Stephen Borden, Tamby Kojak, Tony Voelkl)      

I particularly liked the video of the winning team because it showed a clear game mechanic that was aligned with the topic at hand and, how Drew mentioned it, having a strong support group is one of the best ways to avoid falling in an abusive relationship.

 

    • The Phone Call (Beth Waller, Tyler Lumpkin, Patrick Weaver, Jared Sanchez, Michael Isaza)

    • Hope (Danny Hardawar and Nicole Jameson)

    • Follow Me (Anthony Giertych, Non Siwabut, Mai-Ann Burns, W. Eugene Allen, and sound effects by Nick Windham)

    • Try, Fail, Fall (Samuel Reid, Zach Smith, Archer McNeill, Chris Horton, Tim James)

 

 

But check all the videos of the different groups. Quite likely some of them will take their time to polish them and get them ready for the next game jam that will be sponsored by the CDC during the fall and great results will be shown.