• Thesis Topic: Game for Activism

    Project Topic: YaChia Night Market

    Software: Illustrator /Flash AS3 /Dreamweaver /My SQL

    Thesis Statement: 
        Games on Social Networking Sites (SNS) can be the bridge between virtual and real worlds, affecting people's thoughts in daily life by immersing them in a long-term engagement, thus improving on the weaknesses of other media for activism, which only attracts particular groups of participants.

        Historically, activists for social changes and political movements have leveraged the dominant media of their times, print, radio, TV, and art. In the information age this trend has not changed. Social Network sites (SNS) have already shown their effectiveness as a tool for activism. Unlike other media, games on SNS can engage their audiences while disseminating information and can be a powerful new tool for activism.

        Art includes paintings, posters, radio, performances, movies, and television, which are the main performance practices for activism and also called “protest art.”(Reed T.V). In recent years, social media became the main communication tool in the modem societies. It has broken the boundary between race, sexual orientation, age, location, and time, and it became a major impact on human life styles, especially for people who want to express personal opinions to the masses. For example, the Tunisian Revolution strongly shocked many totalitarian governments and reformed immigration policy in the US (New York Time). Social media is growing at an alarming rate, and some well known platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have already been use for activism purposes. This brings up a question: how about games? As one of the important elements of social media, can games be a platform for activism?

        No doubt, games invade humans’ lives and cause huge impacts unconsciously on human’s habits, customs, and social activities. However, people seem to deliberately avoid the issues of politics, national policies, race, and everything that is too “REAL.” Most of the mainstream games are surreal and designed for players to get the special experiences that people won’t expect in the real life. On the other hand, Ian Bogost, a professor at Georgia Tech, put forward arguments that persuasive games, which can be grouped into three major categories: politics, advertising, and education, are a type of game that makes arguments for particular topics or social issues (Bogost).

        Consider the features of social media and the impact of games: the game on social networking sites (SNS) could be the newest platform of activism because it allows the players to exchange and express their opinions as well as be influenced by other players’ thoughts while playing the game. Also, the game developer can persuade the players on particular issues and encourage the exchange of views between players. Players’ opinions are gradually impacted via the discussion, and thus become known to the general public. The views of player are of great importance because they are the young generation of society. The wrong social issues can be corrected immediately if the young generation can pay more attention to the serious issues and politics, which might cause significant impacts on their lives in the future.