Griffith University: Games design students use tech to tackle big issues

Griffith University students are using cutting-edge technology to address pressing social issues, from water security and disability to endangered art forms.

The group of Bachelor of Games Design students designed a series of interactive ‘games with purpose’ for industry clients and researchers across Griffith.


Elliot Miller is the creator and founder of Hearoes.
Games design alumnus Elliott Miller commissioned current students to develop an auditory training game to help people with a hearing impairment enjoy music.

Elliott is no stranger to what are known in the industry as ‘serious games’. He combined the skills he picked up at Griffith Film School with his personal experience of profound deafness to create Hearoes, an app that helps people with cochlear implants and hearing aid recipients learn new sounds.

“It was exciting to see the creative approach the students took with their serious games projects, combining the art of games with the science of learning to help those on their hearing journey,” he said.


Games design student Tenika Altena
“A project like this offers students the opportunity to have real world positive impact on millions of people globally.”

Student Tenika Altena helped develop a game to raise awareness of endangered music around the world, teaming up with Dr Catherine Grant from the Queensland Conservatorium.

“I developed so many new skills on this project, from learning to work in a team to discovering how to work to a client brief,” she said.

“Games are a fantastic way to educate audiences and bring together so many different groups from diverse backgrounds.

“It is rewarding to see how games tech can be used to produce something that makes a positive difference.”

Dr Grant said serious games were a powerful tool to raise awareness and advocacy.

“Public knowledge and understanding are important foundations for meaningful action on endangered artforms,” she said.

“I’m amazed at the quality of the students’ work and I’m excited about the educational and activist possibilities of serious games.”


Dr Lachlan Guthrie
Dr Lachlan Guthrie from Griffith’s International Water Centre commissioned two games to help share his research.

“Often you write a massive report, stacked with data, but it only gets read by a handful of people,” he said.

“I want to make my research more accessible, so it makes sense to reach out embrace these kinds of multidisciplinary approaches.”

Student Ainsley Brooks-Webb was part of a team developing a game to educate school-age students about the challenges of water security.


Games design student Ainsley Brooks-Webb
“It was definitely a challenge – we had to create the game from scratch in just eight weeks,” she said.

“Game-based learning is a growth industry, and the skills we learned on this project will help us break into the games industry.”

The Serious Games subject at Griffith Film School is led by Dr Tim Marsh and sessional lecturer Sean Fitzpatrick. Dr Marsh is one of the pioneers of ‘serious games’, which blur the line between filmmaking and games design.

“Serious games have the potential to alter behaviour, raise awareness, and affect real change,” he said.

“This is about broadening the audience and providing a deeper experience – these are really games for non-gamers.

“The technological and artistic innovation in serious games and gamification is creating new ways to play, interact and experience.”

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