James Portnow wants to talk about how good games are

… and we should help him.

James Portnow from Extra Credits (and also much loved speaker at Konsoll 2012) has started a crowdfunding project called “Games for Good“. He wants to create a conversation about games that isn’t reactionary or in direct defence of games, but rather talk about the good that games do in a louder and more accessible voice. He’s observed that politicians in DC aren’t finding experts to educate and advise on game legislation and feels that we should become better at representing the industry. In this campaign he also wants us to start talking louder about games that do good and why. We’re doing something similar here in Norway with the Game Developers Guild – but I’ll write about that after Mr. Portnow explains his vision:

Honestly, I’m rather shocked that the computer game industry isn’t already heavily represented in American politics through lobbyists.

I really like Portnow’s approach by putting communication first and upmost on the priority list. It is extremely important. And it’s refreshing to see someone who’s so engaged in the computer game industry not bitch and moan about the ignorance of politicians, but understands that it is our responsibility to start the dialog that we really want.

This is very important work and you should fund it right now!

Meanwhile in Norway

JanHaugland_Spillmakerlauget_styret_1

From left: Jan Haugland, Bjarne Rene, Bjarte S. Hansen, Peter W. Meldahl, Linn Søvig, Endre Baklund – and in front our leader, Stefan A. Svellingen. Foto: Jan Haugland

There’s a lot going on at the moment and this week has been all about catching my breathe and thoughts. The Game Developers Guild and I are working on getting some funding to build an information center on computer games and development set up here in Norway. Firstly we want the center to provide help and guidance to all aspiring game developers. We also want to create a strong voice from the community to our national government about what the industry is doing and what it needs. In Norway we are so lucky to have Jørgen Tharaldsen from MegaPop who’s already done such enthusiastic job talking to politicans and other interested bodies about the importance of games, so we’re having quite an easy time getting our voice heard – and I think we have Jørgen to thank for that.

Also – I want this information center to be a facilitator for other industries who are curious and interested in computer games to come and learn more about us and find partners to create fantastic new things with. I keep meeting people that are genuinely interested in game design but they don’t know where to go and who to talk to. I think a center like this would be great for further collaboration efforts.

Health and games

For example the health sector here in Norway is on a roll when it comes to innovation, Bergen-health-challenge1patient care and game development. I’m lucky enough to be talking to them about options at the moment and I love the enthusiasm for games I’m meeting everywhere. A group of really great people organised The Bergen Health Challenge this year and this is the type of stuff I would love to see more of. They invited health care workers and programmers to work together for a weekend. I think we’re going to see a lot of great stuff coming out of events like these and I hope more game developers show up to events like these. I think it’s a great way to open up dialogue between game developers and the rest of the world.

To put it as sappy as possible: We already know the wonderful magic that compute games can create and I think the rest of the world has an inkling, but they just need an extra nudge or a more coherent understanding of what games are.

So please fund Games for Good! And if you’re interested in what we’re trying to build with The Game Developers Guild please google translate this page.

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