A game based on Henry David Thoreau's meditative two years living off the land surrounding Walden Pond was named best of the year during last night's Games for Change awards. Walden, A Game, developed by USC Game Innovation Lab's Tracy Fullerton, also won the Most Significant Impact award.
In the game, players take on the role of Thoreau as he goes about his daily tasks, gathering food, interacting occasionally with family and friends and exploring the nature and wildlife of the area. The player's approach to each day is then documented in a book, which creates a version of Walden unique to the player's game.
Other winners from the evening's award ceremony included a simulation of reality that allows the player to inhabit anything from animals to galaxies and a game that teaches children long addition and subtraction.
Here's the full list of award winners:
- Game of the Year and Most Significant Impact: Walden, A Game
- Best Gameplay: Tracking Ida
- Most Innovative: Everything
- Best Learning Game: Dragonbox BIG Numbers
- People's Choice: At Play in the Cosmos
Along with the game winners, the award ceremony named Constance Steinkuehler, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, the Vanguard Award winner for her contribution to the advancement of Games for Change. And Bernie DeKoven, author of The Well-Played Game, was given the Lifetime of Play award for his "dedication to the conversation around play and games for over 50 years."
The awards took place during the 14th Annual Games for Change Festival, which runs most of the week at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.