17th Jan 2013

5 Ways Games Have Already Changed the World

Games that act as an awareness or activation device for organizations have already proven successful in solving complex puzzles, providing goods to villages in Africa, and improving literacy rates in India. We’ve put together a brief synopsis on 5 of the games that we feel have already changed the world. 


1. FoldIt

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Synopsis:  Fold.it is an online game that poses complex puzzles about how proteins fold, one of the hardest and most expensive problems in biology today. Gamers provided the crucial insights to solve the structure of a protein-sniping  enzyme critical for reproduction of the AIDS virus. 

Goal: Solve some of the most expensive problems in biology today

Results:  The Mason-Pfizer monkey virus retroviral protease, was modeled by gamers in just three weeks. The discovery will reportedly help researchers in their quest to treat retroviral conditions like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), which can lead to AIDS. The research was co-authored by the gamers and scientists and published on September 18th in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Read more: Fold.It SiteTechland & Scientific American

2. Recycle Bank

recyclebank get rewards for recycling and being green local coupons and reimbursements green for good recycling awareness campaign

Synopsis: Not quite a game in the traditional sense, Recycle Bank rewards people for taking everyday green actions through a “gamified” interface, providing active users with discounts and deals from thousands of local and national businesses.


Goal:  To bring together communities, waste haulers, and local and national brands to help us realize a world where nothing is wasted.

Results: More than 4 Million people are registered on the Recycle Bank platform. The city of Cincinnati is a huge success story: Its recycling program has grown by more than 75% since partnering with Recyclebank. It is ranked as #37 in Fast Company’s World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2012,  and  as the top Venture-backed Clean-tech Company by The Wall Street Journal in 2011.

Read More: RecycleBank SiteWikipedia, The Atlantic


3. Millee Literacy Game

millee mobile literacy game india increase reading levels with technology carnegi mellon social enterprise economic development

Synopsis: A mobile game released in India by the Carnegie-Mellon University Human Development Lab to increase literacy levels. 


Goal: To build a social enterprise that can create and distribute MILLEE games in underdeveloped regions around the world on a cost-recovery basis. With mobile technology that can extend the reach of learning beyond formal school environments, the vision is to revolutionize educational services delivery throughout the developing world.

Results: 7 successful years of progress. The game has been very successful in schools in Africa, and has been measured successfully against traditional teaching methods.

Read More: Carnegie-Mellon


4. Spent

spent game education about homelessness ministries of durham $1000 dollars running out of money out on the street homeless people awareness about issues

Synopsis: Innovative online game about surviving poverty and homelessness, brought to you by the Urban Ministries of Durham and McKinney


Goal: Bring awareness to the issue of homelessness and solicit donations for partner organizations.

Results: More than 1 Million plays in 196 countries

Read More: Spent Website, Press Release


5. Raise the Village

raise the village mobile game to donate to village in uganda mosquito nets vaccines crops books real donation through game

Synopsis: Mobile app that allows users to build a village in the virtual world, and donate corresponding items to a real village in Uganda.


Goal: "To inspire a movement of giving through our products in order to transform the world."

Results: More than 300,000 downloads in the app store

Read More: Raise the Village Blog

Do you have other suggestions? Send them to lisa@halfthegame.org, or tweet us @halfthegame!

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