A non-profit charity set up in memory of a schoolgirl murdered by her abusive ex-boyfriend is encouraging developers to create games exploring the subject.
The annual Life.Love. Game Design Challenge has been running since 2008, and this year is offering $11,000 in prizes to designers who use the medium of games to spread the word of support and advice to teenagers at risk of abuse by their partners.
Jennifer Ann Crecente was 18 years old when she was killed by her former boyfriend. The Jennifer Ann’s Group suggests that a third of 14-year-olds has experienced physical, sexual or psychological abuse from a relationship, with almost half of college graduates having suffered.
"Video games are often unfairly blamed for violence in our society, but using them as a tool for social change to prevent violence is extremely effective," said her father Drew Crecente. “We have found that teens prefer to explore a sensitive issue like teen dating violence through self-paced exploration.
“Additionally, parents like to use these games as an easy way to begin a conversation with their teenagers about abusive behavior in dating relationships."
Games will be judged equally on their educational and entertainment value, as well as on their ability to increase awareness and foster advocacy. Game elements – such as objectives, rules and interaction – will comprise another fifth of the final mark.
Last year's winner was Another Chance by Belgian dev Jean Hehn.
Entries are open until June 1st.