Announcing the 2012 Demo Spotlight Featured Games

Joerg Hofstaetter and his now completed game, Ludwig (Demo Spotlight 2011)

We have just completed selection of the four titles for this year’s Demo Spotlight. This section of the Games for Change Festival showcases games presently in development and seeking partners to provide additional funding, design expertise and/or publishing strategies.

Announcing this year’s Demo Spotlight participants…

Working with the Games for Change team to select this year’s participants was 2012 Demo Spotlight Advisor Ira Fay (Assistant Professor of Game Design at Quinnipiac University and former Senior Game Designer at Electronic Arts’s

In addition to evaluating the game play, prototypes and other design documents, we also reviewed the strength of the core team  – game designers and developers, content experts and researchers, and most importantly, our belief that the projects could go the distance and see their way into the marketplace.

The 4 games are truly diverse, spanning titles that focus on education, reducing physically risky behavior, autism therapy, and… zombies?

Here’s a look at which games made it into this year’s Demo Spotlight…


5 students are dropping out of school. It’s up to you to determine what happens and what they chose to learn about the experience.

Created by Ken Eklund (Writerguy), and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ed Zed Omega (EZΩ) aims to create an alternate reality game (ARG) for all audiences. Through a mixture of Facebook, text messages, voicemail and other “transmedia” tools, the story of EZΩ will unfold in real time based on player input. Players and in game characters will collaborate and discuss the education system in the 21st century, with the hope of reexamining what “education” means. In the end, players and the game’s characters have the potential of recreating what education will look like in the future.


What if you could travel back in time to see how different decisions could have saved your life?

Play2Prevent, Digitalmill, and Schell Games created Elm City Stories to teach teens the various consequences of their actions and how thinking differently and implementing new behaviors could be the difference to leading a healthy, HIV free life. Working together with leading researchers in various forms of behavior change and social impact game experts, Elm City Stories aims to show teens through repeated “reliving” of certain life events, that the right decisions can be made to promote a healthier, risk free, lifestyle.


It’s a well known fact in the study of Austim Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that children with ASD symptoms respond better to inanimate objects and avatars. Popchilla hopes to become their new friend, while teaching these children everyday life skills.

Created by Interbots, Popchilla’s World leverages the knowledge that children with ASD or similar needs have an easier time connecting with on screen avatars and interactive devices like the iPad. By helping the game’s main character Popchilla get through its day, players will learn how to strengthen the everyday life skills they need to communicate with the world. This game is an experience that players can enjoy on their own, or through a special series of exercises and evaluation tools that their caregivers can access.


Often, when we hear about a new game, we’re promised, “you’ve never played a game like this before”. Trust us, Zombie Yoga is that game.

Created by Doris C. Rusch, a post doctoral researcher at the Singapore Gambit MIT Game Lab, Zombie Yoga fuses the mental and physical therapeutic aspects of yoga with the engaging, narrative driven tools of video games. Each level of Zombie Yoga explores different mental states in which a player may need to be mentally calm and physically strong to overcome adversity. By fusing character driven narrative and using the Kinect to perform moves that translate to gameplay, Zombie Yoga takes a novel approach to creating an experience that appeals to both the hobby yogi and the hardcore gamer.


Don’t miss your opportunity to meet the teams behind these games while they’re at the Festival. The Demo Spotlight provides each team with 10 minutes on Skirball’s mainstage, divided evenly between presentation of their project and a panel of experts providing critical feedback and recommendations on ways to advance the project – covering design through publishing strategies.

To learn more about the takeaways from last year’s presenters, visit our blog.

To purchase your tickets to the 9th Annual Games for Change Festival taking place on June 18-20, visit our Festival website now.


One Response to Announcing the 2012 Demo Spotlight Featured Games

  1. Pingback: Play and Learn Weekly May.12th, 2012 | Classroom Aid

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