The inaugural Games for Change Asia-Pacific Festival, held in October 2021, hosted over one hundred exciting presentations from throughout the Asia-Pacific region. With a population of over four billion people, this region represents over half the world and is home to a vibrant mix of cultures and peoples that engage with games in their everyday lives. Throughout the region, innovative and thoughtful work is constantly being done to design innovative games for learning, health and social change – but this work is not always visible to people in the region or other parts of the world. This is what the new Asia-Pacific chapter aims to change. The festival exists to highlight these innovations, to connect game developers, researchers, practitioners and players, and to inspire the next generation of literal game-changers. Correspondingly, this journal has been established for the complementary purpose of highlighting the important research that informs and illuminates the work of those presenting at the festival as well as their peers.
For this first issue of the Games for Change Asia-Pacific journal, the editorial board has identified a collection of ten thought-provoking papers that showcase a diverse range of game types,subject areas and frameworks. Some report on custom-designed games (or plans for them) and the theoretical, clinical or personal approaches that have informed their development. Others describe how existing commercial games are being used in ways that positively impact people’s mental or physical health. One describes the therapeutic use of the game creation process itself. A number focus on mental health and wellbeing, others on education and clinical practice. All, however, are valuable and revealing, and enrich our understanding of the ways in which games can make a contribution to our lives.