Brenda Brathwaite - Games for a Change

This nine minute TED video clearly shows the power of games.

Many people ask me, Jamison, why do you want to make videogames and write fantasy books? You’re such a smart young man who says he wants to save the world. Why waste your time with games and silly stories.

Now, I usually get into a long philosophical discussion about game-theory, perception transformation, player personal investment/buy in, and then, finally, world peace. But this video, in nine minutes, does a damn good job of highlighting many of the reasons why I, personally, think games can save the world.  

Brenda Brathwaite, a game designer famous for her work on the role-playing series Wizardry, and then later on Def Jam Icon and Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes, was inspired by her daughter in 2008 to work on series which were dedicated to expressing difficult subjects or even complex tragedies through interactive media.

Her daughter came home one day after school having learned about the “Middle Passage” during black history month.  Brenda, however, a white woman married to a black man, felt that her daughter did not fully understand the gravity of slavery or how black slaves were transported across the Atlantic ocean during 1500 to 1900. Therefore she, as a professional game designer, created a game called The Passage.  

“And then she got it," Brenda said about her daughter. "She got it because she spent time with these people. It wasn’t abstract stuff in a brochure or in a movie. It was a powerful experience… Games change how we see topics. Games change our perceptions of those topics and how we view the people in those topics. Games help us change ourselves as people. We are involved in the game, we relate to it, we are learning. We are invested.”

Here is the video below:


This video highlights several of her games. However, Train, a game derived from the events of the Holocaust, won the Vanguard Award at Indiecade in October 2009.

Brenda’s work is inspirational and I aspire that one day Apotheosis Studios can help the world through interactive media, such as she has. For more infomation about saving the world via Gaming, take a look at my previous posts on Jane Mcgonigal.


Jamison Stone

Jamison is the Director and Lead Writer of Apotheosis Studios. In addition to his professional career, Jamison is also a Trustee, Committee Chair, and grant writer for the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, an organization which provides grantmaking programs in education, youth development and early childhood development.