I recently discovered The Obakemono Project: http://www.obakemono.com/ A guide to the fantastic folk monsters of Japan. It's a great source of inspiration for character development.
In the game the player is a small lantern, a Tsukumogami (an inanimate object brought to life after 100 years).
A few weeks ago my partner and I attended an independent gaming event called World of Love, which was awesome. It inspired me further to develop my own games.
At World of Love I was really excited by Red Redemption's Fate of the World, in which you're given the power to either save or destroy the earth by manipulating weather, food supply and other scientifically accurate data. The game raises awareness of real issues, and by giving you control over their resolution makes it easier to understand their impact.
Jane McGonigal's TED talk is another good example of games being used to inspire change.
All the speakers from World of Love were really inspiring, and Jim from Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted a great write-up of the event on the site. Hopefully there should be some footage of the talks posted online soon!