Imagine a game where there are no evil monsters, deranged zombies or blood sucking aliens, no high-calibre weapons and most surprisingly no scorekeeping of any sort. Rather the game is an allegorical adventure that explores how we might understand and integrate past experiences in order to grow and accept who we are now. Deep heady stuff for a video game.
Funeomena, a game coding company based in San Francisco SOMA district, in is part of the emerging and growing trend in “deep games”where players “win” by becoming more enlightened empathetic people. An off-beat idea for an industry that has traditionally relied on blood thirsty teenagers. “We want to build things that encourage creativity and exploration,” says Robin Hunicke, cofounder of Funomena: “We’re working to build a company focused on sustainable, creative, and fulfilling game development. It’s aimed at making a positive difference in our lives, as well as the lives of our players.” Hunicke is helping to rethink the video game business and this is strategically important. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the average gamer is now 31 years old. Nearly 50% of the gamers are female and the number of women gamers ages 50 years and over increased by 32% over the past 12 months. How’s this for a stat that may surprise you. Last year for the first time, adult female gamers outnumbered boys under the age of 18 as the largest game playing group in the US.
So what can we surmise from this trend? Well, gaming is a powerful way to engage with people, the industry increasingly transcends gender and age groups. People want to have fun, partake in escapism and we want to learn. Games that help players grow emotionally, become more empathetic and accept who they are have the potential to be useful leadership development tools. Intel, the computer chip-maker, is partnering with Funeomena to explore how deep games can be applied in the corporate world. As Hunicke says “There’s been a lot of talk recently about what it means to make games for “grown ups”… ie: the generation of gamers who grew up playing games, and are interested in new experiences. This could include games that explore quieter, more adult themes like empathy, or loss, or integrating trauma.’ Most of all we can learn that gaming is no longer just for teenagers. Gaming and the emerging deep games represents an exciting way in which leaders can learn and prepare themselves for a changing world.
You can learn more about this emerging trend here: