Games for Change Awards Ceremony video and winners

On June 22nd, the 8th Annual Games for Change Festival in New York City came to a close with its 2nd Annual Games for Change Awards ceremony. Amanda Hirsch, on-line media strategist and cultural blogger and former editorial director of, hosted the ceremony.

The Awards recognize excellence in “games for change” that address current and/or pressing social issues, aiming to produce sustainable and positive impact on society. 17 nominees in 4 categories were celebrated at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. The event was streamed live and enabled a global audience to tune into the awards. (We had nearly 8,000 unique viewers tune into the Festival’s livestream over two days. Top viewers to-date: the US, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Germany, the UK, Spain, India, Canada and France.) The livestream of the event is archived in full, along with clips from each of the nominated games here.

The Awards were supported in large part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sees games as an innovative way to inform and engage communities. Awards were presented in four unique categories, including Direct Impact, Knight News Game, Learning and Education and Transmedia.

In addition, a Special Contribution Award was given to Suzanne Seggerman, Co-Founder of Games for Change, presented to her by E-Line Media Founder and President, Alan Gershenfeld.

You can watch the entire Awards Ceremony in full below:

And the winners are:

The “Direct Impact” Award focused on games that targeted specific audiences with proven outcomes. Direct Impact was the only category that resulted in a tie. Presenting the awards was Kristi Miller Durazo, Senior Strategist and Ambassador of Play at the American Heart Association.


Nathan Verrill of Natron Baxter Applied Gaming

Developer: Natron Baxter Applied Gaming
Designers: Jane McGonigal and Kiyash Monsef
Funder: The World Bank Institute

– and –

Participatory Chinatown

Steve Schirra of Emerson College

Steve Schirra of Emerson College

Developer: Muzzy Lane Software
Designers: The Engagement Game Lab (Emerson College,) Asian Community Development Corporation, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Funder: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The “Knight News Game” Award, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, was created to recognize a range of news games featuring such content as current events, documentary subject matter, infographics or news data, puzzles, literacy, community engagement, or to exist as a news platform. Presenting the award was Ocean MacAdams, Senior Vice President of Programming, Current TV. The Knight News Game category was the only category that the Final Jury wished to also acknowledge another title.

Winner: Fate of the World

Amy O'Neil and Ian Roberts of Red Redemption, Ltd.

Amy O’Neil and Ian Roberts of Red Redemption, Ltd.

Developer: Red Redemption Ltd.
Designers: Ian Roberts, Klaude Thomas, Matt Miles Griffiths, Amy O’Neil, and Hannah Rowlands

Honorable Recognition: The Cat and the Coup
Developers: Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad
Funders: The Advancing Scholarship for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Game Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California

The “Learning and Education” Award celebrated games designed to highlight and/or teach specific topics in the classroom or in informal learning environments. Presenting the award was Chloe Varelidi, Creative Director of MissionLab at Quest to Learn, and Senior Game Designer with the Institute of Play.

The Curfew

Matt Locke, Director of Storythings, and formerly of Channel 4

Matt Locke, Director of Storythings, and formerly of Channel 4

Developer: Littleloud
Designers: Darren Garrett (Director), Simon Parkin (Producer), David Jacklin (Executive Producer), Kieron Gillen (Writer), Sara Khangaroot (Assistant Producer), Paul Simpson (Lead Artist), Rebecca Green (3D Artist), Adam Sharp (3D Artist), Nik Faulkner (3D Artist), Stu Short (3D Artist), Amy Casson (Lead Developer), Seren Matthews (Lead Developer), Alice Parsons (Production Assistant)
Funder: Channel 4

The “Transmedia” Award honored games that are a part of a larger cross-media campaign. Presenting the award was Susana Ruiz, Co-Founder of Take Action Games and a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Southern California.

Inside The Haiti Earthquake

Katie McKenna of PTV Productions, Inc.

Katie McKenna of PTV Productions, Inc.

Developer: PTV Productions, Inc.
Designers: Katie McKenna (Director) Peter Henderson (Graphics and Design), Nicolas Jolliet (Director), Nicole Chung (Flash Programming), Michael Gibson (Writer and Director)
Funder: Canadian Media Fund (CMF), Bell New Media Fund, TVO

Our Selection Process

The selection of our nominees and recipients was carried out by our incredible nominating panel and final jury. Our sincere thanks and appreciation to them.

Direct Impact Award

Final Jury: Noopur Agarwal, Director of Public Affairs, MTV 360; Kristi Miller Durazo, Senior Strategist and Ambassador of Play, American Heart Association; Mitzi McGilvray, VP Games at TikGames and Naveen Selvadurai, Foursquare founder

Nominating Panel: Cheryl Heller, Founder, Heller Communication Design, Chair, Design for Social Innovation, SVA, Board Chair, PopTech. Mathan Ratinam, Director, Humanitarian Design Lab, Parsons The New School for Design and Benjamin Stokes, Co-Founder of Games For Change and PhD Student at USC Annenberg

Knight News Game Award

Final Jury: Ian Bogost, Associate Professor, The Georgia Institute of Technology, June Cohen, Executive Producer, TED Media, Andrew DeVigal, Multimedia Editor, New York Times, Ocean MacAdams, Senior Vice President, Programming, Current TV and Ethan Zuckerman, Co-founder, Global Voices

Nominating Panel: Leigh Alexander, News Editor, Gamasutra, Simon Ferrari, Researcher at Georgia Tech and Gilson Schwartz, Director, Games for Change Latin America

Learning and Education Award

Final Jury: Leigh Anne Cappello, Vice President Future Now, Hasbro and Dr. James Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, Arizona State University

Nominating Panel: Idit Harel Caperton, President and Founder, World Wide Workshop Foundation, Marjee Owens Chmiel, School Technology Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools, Jon-Paul C. Dyson, Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games, and Vice President for Exhibit Research and Development, The Strong, James Jorasch, Founder of Science House, Rafi Santo, Learning Sciences Doctoral Student, Indiana University, Ted Scovell, Director of Science Outreach, The Rockefeller University and Chloe Varelidi, Creative Director of MissionLab at Quest to Learn, and Senior Game Designer with the Institute of Play

Transmedia Award

Nominating Panel: Griffin Farley, Strategy Director at BBH New York focused on Propagation Planning and Innovation, Catherine Herdlick, Game Designer and Co-Founder/Director, Come Out & Play, Victor Piñeiro, strategist, copywriter, and social media guy for digital creative agency Big Spaceship and Susana Ruiz, Co-Founder, Take Action Games and Doctoral Candidate, University of Southern California

Final Jury: Ivan Askwith, Head of Digital Media, Lucas Films, Jason Eppink, Assistant Curator of Digital Media, Museum of Moving Image, Mike Monello, Partner, ECD Campfire and Sheri Graner Ray, Studio Design Director, Schell Games

To learn more about the nominees and winners, please visit our Festival website:

To view a photo gallery of the ceremony and backstage, visit our Flickr account:


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