The 2013 Games for Change Award nominees represent an extremely unique mix of games—from a game with no graphics at all to another that incorporates biofeedback from the player—on platforms from mobile to Facebook.
Whether crowd-funded via Kickstarter or IndieGoGo or supported by government grants (from Vienna, Austria or the U.S. Department of Education), finalists reflect the increasing diversity of forms, audiences, and subject matter embraced by independent developers making games for change.
Our panel of judges nominated eight games across three categories: Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, and Best Gameplay.
The winning games will be announced on June 18 at the 10th Anniversary Games for Change Festival, and one will be crowned Game of the Year, as the game that best represents all three categories. You can register for the Games for Change Festival here.
Have questions for the developers of these nominated games? Leave them in the comments, so we can ask them in an upcoming series of interviews with the creators of these games for change.
Most Innovative Nominees
These games best exemplify the use of creativity and technical experimentation in a manner that may pave new ways for games for change.
Developer: Epicycle / Platform: Mac, PC, iOS
An immersive 3D audio adventure set in a world you’ll never see. Inspired by one of the creator’s personal story of being temporarily blinded in a high-school chemistry accident. This Kickstarter success story reached 200% of its funding goal.
Developer: Team Nevermind / Platform: PC
A biofeedback-enhanced psychological horror video game that challenges players to go outside the comforts of reality. Nevermind was developed as a MFA thesis at the University of Southern California and with support from IndieGoGo crowd funding participants.
Jewish Time Jump – New York
Developer: ConverJent / Platform: iOS
In this geolocational augmented reality game, players travel back in time to the early 1900s in Greenwich Village to uncover a story in Jewish and American history lost to time. It was funded by The Covenant Foundation.
Most Significant Impact Nominees
The games in this category best exemplify impact for a specific social issue with proven actions and outcomes.
Developer: Cuteacute Media OG / Platform: Online browser
A game about collecting, collating, and selling personal data. It received funding from several Viennese and Austrian government agencies supporting arts and culture.
Eskom Energy Planner
Developer: Formula D Interactive / Platform: Online browser
From Cape Town, South African developer Formula D Interactive comes a game that allows the player to take custody of a virtual city’s power plan and to seek a balance between the most efficient technologies currently available and the most environmentally friendly ones.
The Republia Times (also nominated for Best Gameplay)
Developer: Lucas Pope / Platform: Web
As the editor-in-chief at The Republia Times, you must use your influence to print positive articles that paint Republia in a good light.
Best Gameplay Nominees
These games have shown highly compelling and engaging gameplay that aligns with and reinforces social issue goals. The winning game is one that is also polished in design, functionality, and thematic execution.
Reach for the Sun
Developer: Filament Games / Platform: Web
Behind all those leaves, roots, and petals is an intelligent bio-machine of starch, nutrients, and water. Help a young seedling grow and reproduce before winter approaches. From previous Games for Change Award winning-studio Filament Games and funded by the US Department of Education.
Developer: Learning Games Network / Platform: Mac, PC, Web
Players shape the future of a new society while learning how to recognize ethical issues and deal with challenging situations in their own lives. It is the latest game from the Learning Games Network, a spin-off of The Education Arcade at MIT and the Games+Learning+Society Center at the University of Wisconsin.
The Republia Times (also nominated for Most Significant Impact)
We thank our talented panel of judges, which featured leaders of the gaming community, philanthropic sector, nonprofits and education, for their lending their time and thoughtful critiques in selecting the award nominees.
Nominating Panel Members:
• Cindy Au, Head of Community, Kickstarter
• Chris Bell, Game Designer, Giant Sparrow
• Courtney Bickert, Director of Global Partnerships, United Nations Foundation
• James Bower, Chief Visionary Officer, Numedeon, Inc.
• Yuri Cárdenas, Senior Producer, BitTorrent
• Sande Chen, Writer and Game Designer, Independent
• Stephen Chovanec, PBS Digital
• Justin Cinicolo, Vice President, Zynga
• Kate Edwards, Executive Director, International Game Developers Association
• Jason Eppink, Associate Curator of Digital Media, Museum of Moving Image
• Nick Fortugno, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Playmatics
• Leah Gilliam, Project Director at Hive NYC Learning Network, Mozilla
• Ben Johnson, Game Designer, Babycastles
• Jiyoung Lee, Co-Director of Entertainment Technology Center – Silicon Valley, Carnegie Mellon University
• Nathan Maton, Community Designer and Product Manager of OpenIDEO, IDEO
• Dylan McKenzie, Program Coordinator, NYU Game Center
• Chris Melissinos, Founder, PastPixels
• Konstantin Mitgutsch, Research for Learning and Games, MIT Game Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Giancarlo Mori, Executive Vice President of Product Development, Atari
• Lauren Pabst, Program Officer of Media, Culture and Special Initiatives, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
• Matt Parker, Independent Game Designer, Lumalus Inc.
• Max Sebela, Games Evangelist, Tumblr
• Diane Tucker, Director of Serious Games Initiative, Woodrow Wilson International Center of Scholars
• Adnaan Wasey, Director, POV Digital, POV / American Documentary Inc.
• George Weiner, Founder and CEO, WholeWhale