The Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels campaign is returning to PAX West, one of the largest consumer gaming events in the country, as part of our ongoing Game for Good initiative. Building on last year’s success in the PAX Diversity Lounge, this year we are launching a game called “The League of Extraordinary Humans,” which will celebrate a diverse group of everyday heroes fighting for acceptance and inclusion of all.
Can I play?
We developed the game specifically for attendees of PAX West as a geolocation experience – so only those who are at PAX can play this version of the game. We will be placing beacons at different gaming company booths throughout the Washington State Convention Center to unlock content in the game.
Attendees will download the mobile app from the app stores (Apple and Google Play), receive text messages telling them where to go and answer challenge questions that will deepen their understanding of implicit bias. Once they answer the questions, they will unlock digital trading cards featuring the likenesses and stories of “everyday” superheroes who are fighting implicit bias.
Upon completing the game, players will have a chance to win an exclusive Pinny Arcade Love Has No Labels pin (these limited edition pins are coveted by collectors at PAX).
Who are the heroes?
We chose a mix of heroes from inside and outside the gaming community. The heroes are:
- Jazz Jennings, an influential transgender teen and star of the hit TLC show “I Am Jazz”
- Mike Begum, aka BrolyLegs, a competitive gamer with a bone-muscle deficiency
- Diana Nyad, a swimmer who completed a 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64
- Grace Dolan-Sandrino, a transgender advocate (her hero trading card is pictured above)
- Anne Munition, a vocal LGBTQ gaming influencer
- Ben Williams, co-founder of the PAX Diversity Lounge
- Hana Mangat, a teenager who started a Sikh club at her school
- August De Los Reyes, an advocate for inclusive design for people with disabilities
- Marley Diaz, the 12-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks
- Giana Glantz, the creator of the app “Gender Avengers”
- Matt and Jack, two brothers who co-founded an inclusive production company to spread information about Special Olympics Kansas
- Isabella Catarina, a fashion designer who created specialized clothing to help aging Americans dress themselves
Why create a game?
We wanted to more deeply engage with attendees at PAX beyond quickly learning about our campaign and taking and sharing a GIF at our booth in the Diversity Lounge. After working in the gaming space for the past year and a half, we know that the best way to reach gamers is with specific and unique creative that this audience will embrace.
By playing on the superhero theme, which is well established in comic book and gaming culture, and using a mix of well-known and up-and-coming comic book artists, we are confident that the game will resonate with PAX attendees.
The cards are illustrated by comic book artists from diverse backgrounds including Dave Dorman, Emily Warren Rice, Al Davison, Chris Visions, Ashley Woods and Garrie Gastonny in addition to colorist Dominic Regan. Dave Elliott, a veteran of the comic book industry with over 25 years of experience as a writer, artist, editor and publisher oversaw the art development for the cards.
We also know that any sort of gaming element offers an opportunity for deeper digital engagement with an issue, which is our goal.
Stay tuned for my follow-up post after PAX West to see how the game was received and what we learned from the experience!