Arcade Our Way 3: Proudly Untitled
This team of four brilliant boys from AMY NW school worked with myself, Ashley Rezvani who runs a small indie game company called "Homemade Productions" and Sierra Kirby to create a game about climate change called The Air we Breathe.
The protagonist of the game is on a quest to honor the death of their father who was a firefighter who died in the line of duty. It is the not too distant future in Roxborough PA. You require an oxygen tank to breathe because the air quality is poor. As you manoeuvre through the landscape (there are three levels: deforestation, oil and gas, the government), you encounter minions/agents of the state who do the bidding of corporations and the government. You throw knowledge at them to convert them into activists. As you do so, advocacy posters with practical information, strategies and statistics appear (posters by Graphic and Interactive Design students at Tyler School of Art and Architecture; and facts jotted on sticky notes). On each level there are two scientists you encounter who teach you ways that you can help to better the environment and work to improve the climate change. You keep track of this information in your journal. Can you honour your family legacy and make the air we breathe breathable again?
This research is about bringing social justice art education into classrooms through the medium of video games and exploring the ways in which video game design can be a learning tool that can make contributions to and engage in social justice work. Drawing from a case-study research project with a small group of middle school students, through the lens of critical pedagogy informed by recent work by Dipti Desai (2020), this project examines how learning happens through dialogue and knowledge weaving. Findings have led me to consider the potential of this type of video game design as a site of resistance and transformation in art education.
Keywords: video game design; social justice; collaboration; critical pedagogy; collective pedagogy
Jackson, R. (in press). Collaborative video game design as an act of social justice. Studies in Art Education, 63(2),