Gaming stands for fun and pastime, but games can do even more. They manage to present social and political issues in a playful way. In this way, they make a positive contribution to communicating democratic values.
Fighting opponents, creating fantasy worlds, winning in a car race - that's what many of us associate with computer games. But computer games can do even more. They can be used to impart knowledge, train skills or explain social issues in a playful way. Such games are called serious games. The aim is not just to win. The aim is to create a content awareness, offer new perspectives, or live through a special experience.
Serious Games can convey democratic values. Here are some examples:
Through the Darkest of Times
It transports the players to the time of the Second World War. As part of the organized resistance in Berlin, the players experience the Nazi era. A resistance group must be kept together and protected from the Gestapo. The game received the Best Studio award from the German Developer Award. It is available in German, English and for PC, cell phone and game consoles. It is recommended for ages 12 and up.
Fake It To Make It
The players produce their own fake news and thus get a feel for the strategies behind disinformation. The goal in the game is to get many clicks and likes for the fake news. The game was published by the Federal Agency for Civic Education together with the Lower Saxony State Agency for Civic Education. It is available online, free of charge in German and English. There is no age restriction, but it is recommended for children 12 and older and adults.
Win the White House
A simulation game in which the gamer plays a US presidential candidate. Commercials must be published, and rallies must be held in the different states. It gives the gamer a basic understanding of the American electoral system, the power of difference states and the two-party system. The game is available for free as an app or web game and can be played in English or Spanish.
Salaam is a game in which gamers assume the role of a refugee and must ensure daily survival in a refugee camp. The game was developed by Lual Mayen, who himself fled from Sudan with his family and found shelter in a refugee camp in Uganda. With his game he wants people to develop more empathy and get a better understand for their situation. This game will be relaunched soon.
Often the motivation to learn is higher through serious games. Since young people in particular have a great affinity for digital media, they are a good example of how to promote media competence and democratic value education in a fun and enjoyable way.
The esports player foundation - one of 44 partners of Deutsche Telekom - has published a flyer with links and contact points for parents. From educational game recommendations to advice centers, interested parties can find helpful information about gaming in it. The flyer is currently available in German.