Using games to re-imagine a healthier internet together

Games, play, and movement-building meet at MozFest 2019

Sep 30 · 3 min read
Photo CC BY-NC by Erik Westra

Games and play have been a part of MozFest from the start. The very first MozFest — called the “Drumbeat Festival” — was even billed as a “3-ring circus of innovation.” Since then people have brought cardboard arcade cabinets, IoT test kitchens, carnivals of learning, and even entire worlds to the festival as joyful, imaginative explorations of what’s possible to design, build, and share in the internet health movement.

Just last year, a newly-formed gaming experience team launched Tracked, a festival-wide examination of the relationship between users and the platforms that want to profit from people’s online data and habits. Rumor has it that this year’s team is busy catalyzing a new game for everyone to play together.

To get a sense of the kinds of sessions that use games and play to teach about internet health across all the festival’s spaces, check out this recap of last year’s offerings and this text-based choose-your-own-adventure tour of game-based sessions from years past.

At MozFest 2019, the Mozilla Zone (a.k.a the MoZone) will host a game workshop to help us imagine a healthier, decolonized internet from the ground up. Led by indie role-playing game designer Brandon Dixon, this session will help us all envision a more equitable, just, and inclusive internet that we can champion and work toward in solidarity with one another throughout the year. The big idea is to discover this new internet together through gameplay and then to make it real.

Image © Swordsfall Studios LLC, used with permission

Brandon is the creator of Swordsfall, an Afro-punk sci-fi fantasy game world. It’s a:

…dive into pre-colonial Africa for rich lore you’ve never heard of before. It’s an exploration into a world where most of the faces are dark yet aren’t constrained to one corner of the globe. It’s a world where women hold power equal to men and the merit of one’s soul is what propels them through life. It’s a world where spirits aren’t to be feared, instead they are to be embraced.

Fans of last year’s Decentralization space, Xenshana, gamers, and anyone dedicated to bringing about a brighter future for the web shouldn’t miss this workshop. Look for scheduling details when the full program for MozFest 2019 launches. We’ll share the workshop materials after MozFest, as well, so you can run the game and workshop for your community and inspire local action for change.

Be sure to visit other playful MozFest 2019 sessions, as well, like:

  • Gamestorming — adventure to find the golden idea.
  • Privacy game — Interactive Digital Footprint Investigation.
  • Train an AI to play a game.

MozFest is an amazing experience and one that’s designed to offer all kinds of pathways for people interested in contributing to the internet health movement and the urgent push for more trustworthy AI. If games are your thing, or if you need a playful break from the weekend’s bustle, join us at Brandon’s workshop or in any of the game-based sessions popping up at this year’s MozFest.

What games have you played at MozFest? Were you ever a werewolf or a villager? A practitioner of turtle wu-shu? A cryptomancer? Share your MozFest gaming stories in the comments below. And get your tickets now for this year’s playful experiments for a healthier internet and more trustworthy AI at MozFest in London, 21–27 October.

Mozilla Festival

MozFest is an annual, hands-on festival for and by the open Internet movement. Every year, bright minds from around the world build, debate, and explore the future of our lives online. In this publication, we invite everyone to share their thoughts and start conversations.

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