Part of what defines art is its ability to move people and even change their view on the world. Movies, music, and literature have all been known to achieve this at their greatest. This isn't a discussion about games being art as that's only one aspect and not a requisite, of course. It's just a question posed as to the potential impact of a game in relation to other means.
I think we've all encountered stirring moments of intensity, heroics, sadness, and anger. It seems these are often just barely better than superficial mechanics that derive these and even the best examples are small islands in a game that is otherwise a chasm of nothing around it. The experience of these moments in games perhaps being equivalent to Head of the Class (the sit-com) while the same moments in other mediums might often be more like Lean on Me or Stand and Deliver. Constructed of so much corrugated cardboard as to be nearly meaningless.
I certainly don't recall ever encountering a game whose overall experience was not just moving, but changed my view on a subject. Shouldn't a well-constructed game absolutely have the potential to not just stir some emotion, but do so in a non-trivial (ie, movie-cliche designed to jerk tears) way? More, shouldn't there be a sure capacity for them to enlighten and provoke re-consideration of people's view on things like racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism, age, poverty and other concepts? And I discount crappy social and political flash games funded by Ospirg about clean water or clear indie-award-bait attempts. I mean full fledged retail games, like any other.
So, have you found a game capable of altering one's view on such topics? What's the closest you've come to one? Do you suppose we'll see one (or more) any time soon and what is holding us back from this? Are there developers with ideas and projects in their minds just starving for funding or is it a creative vacuum devoid of anything more involved than, say, Heavy Rain? Is the audience to blame? Or are we just in the stage of gaming that is about on-par with where movies were in the 30s and 40s? Largely over-acted and a little flat? (I know I'm stereotyping all movies from the era there, but you know what I mean -- there is a point at which movies started to evolve beyond what they were into what they - at their best - are now). Are we just stuck in the sort of "William Castle" period of gimmicks and thrills to get audiences to fill seats?