Game Changer Chicago

About GCC

The Game Changer Chicago Design Lab was developed as an experimental collaboration between Drs. Melissa Gilliam (OB/GYN) and Patrick Jagoda (English, New Media Studies). GCC develops serious games, interactive learning experiences, and digital media art with youth and for youth. This lab draws from social and clinical sciences to address issues relating to sexuality, health, social justice, and youth development. GCC uses participatory education in an attempt to changes attitudes, behaviors and cultural norms to transform communities around sexual reproductive health and other critical issues that impact the well being of marginalized youth. 

Game Design and Game Play

GCC utilizes both game design and game play as learning tools. Youth from the South Side of Chicago participate in game play and design to gain critical literacies, health knowledge, social and scientific awareness and technological skills. Additionally, having the youth co-design the games with our team requires them to inherently conduct research on the chosen topic.

  • Game Design
    During the game design workshops, we help youth understand systems; how those systems impact their lives; and how to develop a game objective that will challenge and defeat these systems. 
  • Game Play
    Through game play of alternate reality games (ARG), youth experience how a myriad of issues have real impact on their lives and what they can do  – in reality – to prevent negative outcomes in their lives. 

Current Work

Bystander interventions are a prosocial approach to social problems. Bystanders, neither the perpetrator nor the victim but the surrounding community, can be key players in interrupting, preventing, and changing social norms. Used in multiple contexts, bystander interventions have demonstrated efficacy in sexual violence prevention. Bystander is a game and educational curriculum. Four mini-games delve into sexual harassment, intimate partner sexual assault, helping victims access resources, and the role of drugs and alcohol. Drawing upon behavioral theories, this game is designed to promote the skills, attitudes, and awareness that empower adolescents to help end sexual violence.

Ci3 Research on Game Design 

Our body of work and scholarship on this issue is growing. In September and October of 2015, the following Ci3 academic papers were published.

  • Worlding through Play Alternate Reality Games, Large-Scale Learning, and The Source (Published in the American Journal of Play)
  • LifeChanger: A Pilot Study of a Game-Based Curriculum for Sexuality Education (Published in Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology)
  • Reinvigorating adolescent sexuality education through alternate reality games: the case of The Source (Published in Sex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning)