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Games & Impact Web Round-Up – 9.7.2012

Here’s what we were reading and chatting about around the water cooler at the Center for Games & Impact:

Mojang and UN presents: Block by Block
“Just like the Swedish predecessor, “Block by Block” aims to involve youth in the planning process in urban areas by giving them the opportunity to show planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities in the future.  Minecraft has turned out to be the perfect tool to facilitate this process. The three-year partnership will support UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016.”

Single Player Matters: Why Not All Games Need to Be ‘Social’
“It’s comments like Gibeau’s, both his initial one and his explanation, that are holding gaming back from being as respected of an art form as books, TV or movies. Yes, the ability to play and interact with others is a benefit of games over those other forms of media. But it is not the only benefit, and it can detract from a game if overly used. Video games have a unique opportunity to tell stories effectively because they put the player inside the shoes of the central character, forcing them to make the decisions that drive the story. It’s what makes Mass Effect or Heavy Rain more compelling than many movies or shows. Interestingly, I find Telltale’s The Walking Dead game a much more harrowing and emotional experience than watching the actual TV show. The main character is me. The group members are my friends. And it works because I’m experiencing it alone.”

No Sex Please, We’re Gamers
“The community’s response was polarised. Bellard observed a relatively even split between those calling for Seduce Me to be down-voted and threatening to complain, and those who, for various reasons, believed that content of this sort should be allowed a place on PC gaming’s most pervasive distribution platform. Ultimately, the community didn’t make the final decision; within an hour, No Reply received an e-mail from Valve stating that Seduce Me had violated Greenlight’s terms of service and had been removed from the process.”

Internet Petition Brings Aliens: Colonial Marines Female Jarheads
“It’s easy to doubt the significance and importance of online petitions, but every now and then they can make the voices of gamers heard. Such was the case when Gearbox producer Brian Burleson stated that Aliens: Colonial Marines’ multiplayer modes would exclusively feature playable male characters. Aliens fans found this a little odd, considering that the series is among the most female-centered franchises of science-fiction, so a petition was quickly filled with almost 4000 signatures demanding that the oversight be corrected.”

Could FarmVille 2 actually capture the hearts of core gamers?
“Zynga told me that their goal for FarmVille 2 was to create an experience that felt “relaxing and pastoral.” They want the title to evoke a feeling of nostalgia and recapture the feeling of living in a small town and running a small farm. They want the five-minute breaks people spend with FarmVille 2 to be “The best five minutes of their day.”

Games earn more money on Kickstarter than any other category
“In the eight months leading up to August 31, video games and board games on Kickstarter have earned a collective $50 million dollars. Other leading categories like Film and Design, meanwhile, have earned $42 million and $40 million, respectively.”

Gaming Accessibility Project Hopes To Help More Developers Make Games Disabled Gamers Can Play
“As for why accessibility is important? Other than the important issue of basic fairness and decency, the project points to data PopCap gathered showing that up to 20% of the player base for casual games have some kind of disability. That’s a lot of gamers who are currently being underserved—gamers who could be buying many more games, if developers take their needs into account.”

We want to know, did we miss something you thought was interesting? Did you pick up on the same news we did, what’d you think? Tell us what’s on your mind in Games & Impact news!