Book Review: Power Play: How Video Games Can Save the World by Asi Burak and Laura Parker

Cover of the book Power Play: How Video Games Can Save the World by Asi Burak and Laura Parker
Power Play: How Video Games Can Save the World
by Asi Burak and Laura Parker
St. Martin’s, 2017

This review was first published by Booklist on December 15, 2016.

This book is a survey of the movement to use video games as tools to educate and empower positive social change. Each chapter dives into a specific game or media company to present the history of this movement through real-world examples. Games can be forces for good—these games have been used to foster empathy and compassion, to illuminate mutual understanding, to promote involvement in civics and science, and even to help the sick deal with illness. Lead author Burak has been a pivotal figure in the Games for Change movement. Just about all of the games profiled in this book were projects that his organization, Games for Change, was involved with in some way. This makes him biased on the subject, certainly, but it also makes him better informed about the state of social-impact games than just about anyone else. This is an insider’s perspective, and the authors make a compelling argument. Games for Change might just change the world someday. It will be exciting to see what comes next.

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