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Over the past year, the Engagement Lab and the Egyptian United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have partnered on a new initiative focused on using games and play to tackle global issues, ranging from environmental sustainability to cultural and political empowerment.
This week, the lab is hosting UN staff and designers and entrepreneurs from Egypt for a week-long, intensive game development camp.
Every day this week, we will share a new blog post written by one of the game makers. Today, Ayman Aboulmagd shares his experiences during the third day of the development camp.
The day started by walking in the best weather we’ve encountered so far. The ice started to melt and we played and fed some squirrels. It was the first time I’ve ever seen squirrels in my life.
Today, I learned how effective and magical games can be in terms of learning and memorability. I also learned about a disease that infected 450 million people, its symptoms and prevention, about Malawi’s illiterate and innumerate farmers and how games made it easier to teach them about the difficult funding options that the facilitators themselves didn’t fully grasp. I learned about a game that smartly and effectively teaches kids about the scientific concepts and awareness about the climate change.
We started with a session about playtesting, we were taught about the steps of playtesting and its cycle. We then playtested a game about climate change for kids. It was interesting to know that I was playtesting a game that will be used by Red Cross and Red Crescent to spread awareness about climate change, and this was inspiring for me. Knowing that they playtested it eight times was beneficial in order not to get frustrated when my games get playtested a lot.
Afterwards, we attended a presentation about games with social impact given by Janot Mendler de Suarez. We learned about games made in Tanzania and Malawi to teach people concepts that are complicated and boring when explained in the form of lecture.
We had an interesting discussion with a game designer named Luigi Guatieri and we took his feedback about our games. It prompted a great discussion because it involved specific and detailed numbers that we needed to hear about like number of copies, duration of design, and costs.
This day was very rich and intense with lots of inspiration.