Save the Dates: Games & Media Summit and Games for Change Festival


April 18: Games & Media Summit

June 23-24: The 13th Annual G4C Festival

Mark your calendar: For 2016, we’re refreshing our events schedule, content, and location, based on your feedback and some exciting new opportunities.

2016 Games and Media Summit

On April 18, 2016, Games for Change returns to the Tribeca Film Festival and the Tribeca Festival Hub with a daylong summit that highlights how emerging technology, innovative gaming interfaces and platforms are opening new ways for social impact: VR, augmented reality, mixed reality, biofeedback, neurogaming, and more.

Through a partnership with 3BLACKDOT, The event will combine on-stage sessions and demos of the latest gaming tech with an on-site games arcade. We will also be joined by top YouTube celebrities, some reaching millions of young subscribers and game players for a special live gameathon! Early bird passes to the Tribeca Festival Hub will go on sale soon on the Tribeca Film Festival site — more info to come!
2016 Games for Change Festival
On June 23 and 24, the core programming of the Games for Change Festival is moving to its old (and new!) home at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. The state-of-the-art venue near New York City’s Union Square offers a holistic experience under one roof:

  • Keynotes by top thought leaders in games and social impact
  • G4C Awards ceremony
  • Breakout sessions and workshops
  • Game arcades
  • And this year, we’ll be adding by public demand:

And this year, we’ll be adding by public demand:

  • A second, expanded edition of the Games for Learning Summit, uniting educators, government officials, game studios, and edtech companies.
  • Broader agenda in impact games with specialized tracks on Learning, Neuroscience & Health and Civics & Global Issues.
  • The G4C Marketplace to showcase leading companies and emerging studios.


More to come soon…

We’ll continue to share more info as the 2016 events develop. Keep an eye out for our calls for talks, demos and games in the following months! In the meantime, check out the 2015 Festival’s highlights.

Posted in G4C Announcement, G4C Festival | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

New leadership at Games for Change

G4C red banner

Welcome new G4C President Susanna Pollack!

A few words from Asi and Susanna

Dear friends of Games for Change,

I feel really lucky to have been part of this community since 2004. First as a game developer, and in the last 5 years as the President of Games for Change.

During that time, I saw this community grow and thrive, with new people joining the conversation and creating better and higher-quality games. With great success stories, as well as spectacular failures. I feel it’s time to clear the way for new ideas and new leadership that will take this movement and sector to the next phase.

One of the things I am most proud of is our partnerships: the White House and the U.S. and NYC Departments of Education; the Half the Sky Movement project with Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn, and the talent at Show of Force; and community leaders such as Globaloria, the Cooney Center, E-Line Media and the members of the Industry Circle. Our unique partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, through the leadership of co-founders Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, helped bring the conversation around games to the national and global spotlight.

This growth had its pains, mainly the question of sustainability, something every small to mid-sized nonprofit struggles with. In the last couple of years, we were able to answer that challenge successfully, but I wasn’t there alone. I’d like to thank the board of Games for Change, under the fierce leadership of Ken Weber from, who has been the #1 supporter of this sector. The other person to thank is Susanna Pollack, who worked by my side tirelessly on partnerships and development. And of course the staff at Games for Change that really CARES: Emily, Hsing, Meghan, Sara, Tania, Raanan, Kevin, and many great interns and volunteers.

It’s a farewell note, but not 100%. G4C offered me the opportunity to join its board and continue my involvement with its important work. I can’t wait for the great things to come!


Asi Burak

Dear friends of Games for Change,

I am deeply honored and humbled to have been appointed by the Games for Change Board as G4C’s new President.

Having worked with Asi as VP of Partnerships over the last two years, one thing I have learned is that he is a very difficult act to follow! Asi has been a tremendous force in building the G4C community as well as the overall organization, and I have learned a great deal from him. So thank you, Asi, for welcoming me into the G4C family and for supporting me through our time together.

I came into this space from a very different path than many of you, and I thought it might be helpful to hear from me a little about my journey and why am so happy to be in this current role. I worked for 13 years in traditional media as an executive with BBC Worldwide, where I helped hundreds of BBC and indie docs, drama and youth programs get produced, financed, and marketed to U.S. audiences. Over the years, my work spanned into interactive media and cross-platform content. I immediately fell in love with the potential that new forms of digital media offered, not just for expressive exploration but also the ways to reach people through different engagement experiences.

I left the BBC in 2011 to consult with organizations that embraced this digital world and eventually made my way to G4C in 2013. My promise to you as President is that I will continue my effort in supporting content creators — in this case, game makers — and other stakeholders in the G4C community in the creation, funding and marketing of the amazing work that is emerging.

I think you will see that though our upcoming events, growing Lab Services work and more recent educational programs, we are finding ways to bring more voices to the table, funders into the sector and opportunities for game makers to have their work discovered. I welcome feedback and ideas on how we can continue to grow and strengthen the organization.


Susanna Pollack

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

G4C Industry Circle: How GlassLab’s analytics support impact at scale

1511_IndustryCircle_Banner_Template_GlassLab_resize for banner


The GlassLab Analytics Engine: Supporting Impact at Scale

By Paula Escuadra, Head of Content Partnerships

Games can empower players to take on new perspectives, challenges, and the desire to face both failure and success. As part of fundamental game design, this sense of agency and exploration is supported by the mechanics of a “core loop,” also known as a sequence of critical verbs that loop back on one another [1].

In game design, this is important because of the way repetition can enable the mastery of a concept — simple or complex. While the loop in a game for entertainment creates interest and retention, the loop in a learning game intertwines both engagement and instructional interaction.

For instance, the adventure role-playing game Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy EDU, developed in collaboration with NASA and the National Writing Project, teaches argumentation skills through robotic battles. Targeted argumentation skills were informed by existing Educational Testing Service and Common Core standards in argumentation and writing.


Looping Data, Gameplay, and Outcomes Together

The game mechanics are as follows: find evidence; construct the argument (equip your argubot); and critique the argument (win an argubot battle). As players proceed through the core loops of the game, the robot battles become more complex; as players progress, so can their understanding and mastery of how to create a valid argument.

Digital games afford deeper and richer streams of data to assess players’ learning and improvement [2], increasing opportunities and impact for players. A major challenge game developers and educators run into, however, lies in identifying meaningful learning evidence within thousands of virtual data points. How do we make all of this information useful?

The GlassLab Analytics Engine was created to empower developers to systematically connect in-game events to evidence of learning and visualize it in a way that was easy to use in any learning environment. It supports the alignment of learning design with system-wide data structures that enable powerful learning insights [3]. Beyond that, the Engine facilitates the more effective onboarding of high-quality digital games onto the GlassLab Games — also known as the STEAM engine of learning games.


When GlassLab Game Services first launched, connecting these in-game events to learning reports was time consuming, done by a data engineer hooking each reporting event to individual pieces of data, one by one. The thoughtful design of how to visualize learning events in easy-to-use reports is still critical, but the pain of implementing those reports has been greatly reduced.

Soon, GlassLab will be releasing new tools that make it easier for developers to connect the data from what happens in-game to tangible learning outcomes — potentially reducing two months of typical integration time by an eighth of the time (taking as little as a single week!).

By applying what GlassLab has learned during its three-year research period, the studio hopes to streamline the creation of data-powered learning reports into archetypal structures that new developers can simply plug into, implement according to their games’ natural structure, and begin using to produce reports that GlassLab’s design process will help developers connect to content and learning standards.

Posted in Industry Circle | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Games for Change is looking for social media interns

1508_Games for Change internship posting

Games for Change is looking for two social media interns to support a range of projects promoting games for social impact. Candidates for this unpaid internship should meet the below qualifications and requirements.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Draft social media content for Games for Change’s social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
  • Schedule approved posts via Tweetdeck and social media scheduling tools
  • Research leaders and influencers in key areas for specific G4C programs
  • Provide reports from Google Analytics and social media tools

Required Skills:

  • You have excellent grammar, writing, and research skills
  • Ideally, you’ve handled social media accounts for an organization before. At minimum, you have active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and are familiar with or willing to learn social media scheduling tools.
  • Know how to collect social media metrics and have experience doing so
  • Basic photo-editing skills for editing and resizing photos and screenshots
  • Knowledge of Excel, Word, Google Docs
  • Comfortable with WordPress and HTML
  • Driven to complete tasks on time and able to switch gears quickly
  • Knowledge or interest in the games, especially social impact games

Interns will support the following programs:

  • NYC G4C Student Challenge: We’ve launched our NYC Games for Change Student Challenge, a new game design program for middle and high school students throughout the 2015-16 school year that is supported by an amazing group of partner organizations.
  • G4C Industry Circle: In a first-of-its-kind effort to acknowledge the achievements and opportunities in the games for change sector, we are pleased to announce a new initiative called the Games for Change Industry Circle.
  • G4C Festival: The largest gaming conference in NYC celebrates the positive power of digital games. For the past two years, it has been part of the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Cities of Learning / LRNG: This past summer, we produced three live arcades for youth in Dallas, Chicago and Pittsburgh, reaching more than 2,500 kids. We’ve joined the LRNG, the relaunch of Cities of Learning, as a strategic partner.
  • G4C Talk & Play series: A recently launched lecture and game arcade series. We were honored to host our initial events with Jane McGonigal, YouTube stars and game developers at YouTube Space LA, and tech innovation community PopTech.
  • An upcoming game design challenge: To be announced soon!

To apply, please send an email with the subject line “G4C Social Media Intern” to Meghan (meghan (at) Please send your resume as an attachment and include the following information in the body of the email:

  • Availability (hours per week) and location
  • School, program and expected graduation year
  • Sample tweet for the G4C program listed above that is of the most interest to you. This should be written as if it is coming from the Games for Change Twitter account.
  • Overview of interest and experience with social impact games (design, play, etc.)
  • Details on any prior related internship experience
Posted in Opportunities | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

N Square Challenge: $10,000 game design competition around nuclear weapons

[ Update: The call for submissions has ended. Thanks for everyone who entered! ]

N Square Game Design Challenge banner

Help Drive the Conversation About The Risk of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear proliferation remains one of the most vexing and complex issues of our time. Though the Cold War ended long ago, today’s nuclear security situation is more volatile than ever.

But with such a huge challenge comes an even bigger opportunity for innovation, and who better to tackle this issue than the gaming community, known for their creativity and collaborative problem solving. A new design competition is calling on innovators to save the world, in real life, by inspiring creative solutions and novel approaches that foster greater understanding of nuclear proliferation and its related safety and security challenges.

Games for Change is looking for ideas for games that address the risk of nuclear weapons.

The N Square Challenge is a $10,000 game design competition, sponsored by N Square, a two-year pilot working to inspire nuclear safety solutions.

The challenge invites anyone, anywhere, to conceptualize a game that will engage and educate players about the dynamics of nuclear weapons risk. No prior game design experience or subject matter expertise is required. You supply the idea, and we’ll design the game.

The winning design idea will receive a $10,000 cash prize!

Key Dates

  • Oct. 22: Contest announced
  • Nov. 22: Submissions due
  • Dec. 10: Winner selected and notified

The winning game idea will receive $10,000 and will be developed into a playable game and featured as part of a traveling pop-up innovation lab experience. Development will be done by a third-party game developer if your team is not able. N Square will cover all costs for development and promotion of the full game.

Click here for a complete background, competition guidelines, and criteria.

Posted in Design Challenge | Tagged , | 43 Comments

G4C Industry Circle: BrainPOP’s GameUp provides teachers with quality games


We are pleased to present the following article from BrainPOP as the third installment in our Industry Circle series. We hope you enjoy the following piece from Allisyn Levy, VP of GameUp at BrainPOP and that we will see you at G4C’s Google Hangout with BrainPOP on October 2 at 2 p.m. ET. During this live Q&A, BrainPOP and the Learning Games Lab at New Mexico State University will have a chat on GameUp’s impact on their research. RSVP here.

G4C Industry Circle: BrainPOP

GameUp: Providing teachers with quality online learning games

By Allisyn Levy, VP of GameUp at BrainPOP

From our inception more than 15 years ago, BrainPOP has always been about helping teachers convey complex topics — and helping kids make sense of them. We were founded by Avraham Kadar, MD, a physician specializing in pediatric asthma, allergies, and other immunological issues. Dr. Kadar recognized that many of the kids he saw were frightened by what was happening to their bodies. He believed that they would fare much better if they understood much better. BrainPOP grew directly out of that belief, and since then, we’ve never stopped coming up with new ways to support students and their teachers.

One of the “new ways” that we’re most proud of is GameUp, a curated collection of online learning games from leading educational game publishers. As educators ourselves, we loved the idea of using digital games in class. We saw a ton of great games out there, we knew how engaging they could be, and we knew that engaging kids meant motivating them. But as we spoke to teachers about games for learning, we found that many of them — although enthusiastic and not entirely new to the concept — weren’t always sure how to effectively bring games into their classroom.

GameUp was born out of our desire to help teachers expand their use of online games, showcase some of the games we saw, and give kids a new way to learn. We sought to build a portal to quality games that teachers could trust — pre-vetted by us and bundled with implementation strategies, lesson ideas, assessment tools, and an array of other resources. To best accomplish that, we partnered with a range of leading educational game publishers including non-profit organizations, independent game developers, museums, and universities.

Four years after its launch, GameUp is home to more than 120 learning games on 400+ topics, from dozens of game publishers. We’ve hosted more than 8 million hours of gameplay — 4 million in the last year alone — and we look forward to evolving to meet the needs of our users. BrainPOP remains committed to supporting teachers as they explore new pedagogies, and to making the classroom a playful, meaningful environment in which all students can learn.

For more about the unique relationship between GameUp and the game providers we partner with, join us on October 2 for a special G4C Industry Circle Google Hangout. We’ll welcome the team from Learning Games Lab at New Mexico State University for a chat about the impact GameUp has had on their reach and research. Send us Q&A questions in advance by commenting on the Google Hangout page, posting questions during the Google Hangout, or tweeting them with #G4CIndustry!


Posted in Industry Circle | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

NYC Teachers Kick Off the Games for Change Student Challenge

1509_G4C DOE NYC teacher training

As the NYC Department of Education and Games for Change get ready to launch the first-ever Games for Change Student Challenge, teachers from all five boroughs are learning how to teach digital game design in their schools during the 2015-16 school year.

In August, 20 teachers gathered at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, for the first in a series of professional development sessions led by Institute of Play, Globaloria, and Unity Technologies. As part of the training, teachers learned about the game design process and how games can connect people and bridge social barriers.

Through the G4C Student Challenge, hundreds of middle and high school students from public schools across NYC will create original digital games about social issues in their communities, applying their coding skills to real-world challenges including literacy, sustainability, and animal welfare.

The game design process helps students develop critical life skills like systems thinking, problem solving, and design thinking. Game design can also be a powerful teaching tool — helping educators engage students in a hands-on, collaborative, and interest-driven learning experience.

While any middle or high school student enrolled in a NYC public school can participate in the Challenge, teachers selected for the training program receive professional development and in-class support to implement a game design curriculum in their schools using the Globaloria blended learning platform. Professional game designers will visit classes to mentor students throughout the program.

Teachers playtested each other’s game prototypes, learning how to evaluate games and give constructive feedback, which will come in handy when they begin teaching their students game design.Teachers received an orientation to the design process from Institute of Play, and put their new skills to use creating paper prototypes of games about the Challenge Themes.

Want to participate in the Challenge but not sure if your school will be offering a game design course? First, talk to your principal about ways you can encourage students to create games to submit. Perhaps your school already offers a technology or computer science course in which students could design games. Game design resources, digital game-making tools, and beginner’s guides for students, parents and teachers are also available for free on the Challenge website.

The Challenge launches this September, and the submission deadline is January 30, 2016. A panel of judges including game designers, industry leaders and social innovators will evaluate submissions in February 2016 and select up to six winning games. Prizes will be presented at an awards gala at Museum of the Moving Image in March 2016.

The Challenge is hosted in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education through two innovation initiatives, iZone and Digital Ready, and leaders in the social impact games sector Globaloria, Institute of Play and the Museum of the Moving Image. A consortium of cross-sector partners is providing additional resources, prizes and expertise, including leading game platform Unity and digital learning advocate Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) Foundation. Challenge Theme partners include The New York Times, XPRIZE Foundation, A Kinder World Foundation, NYC Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation and the ACLU.

For more information about the Challenge, visit

Teachers playtested each other’s game prototypes, learning how to evaluate games and give constructive feedback, which will come in handy when they begin teaching their students game design.

Teachers playtested each other’s game prototypes, learning how to evaluate games and give constructive feedback, which will come in handy when they begin teaching their students game design.

Posted in Events, G4C Announcement | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Come visit us at our G4C Arcade and talk with PopTech (Sept. 10)

[ This post originally appeared on PopTech’s website ]

In partnership with PopTech and Steelcase, we’re presenting a talk from our president Asi Burak and an arcade of thought-provoking games on September 10.

This free event is part of the PopTech Roadtrip series, which has ventured around the U.S. and abroad, bringing together the PopTech community to explore new ideas and engage in interesting discussions. Thanks to Steelcase, their next stop is in New York City!

Join us on Thursday, September 10 for a compelling talk around gaming for good and an intimate evening of discovery and conversation.

Did we mention that it’s free? Sign up, tell your friends, and get ready for what will be a fun and informative evening. Drinks and snacks will be served. See you then!

Date: Thursday, September 10
Time: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Steelcase WorkLife Center, 4 Columbus Circle, New York, NY
Registration: Sign up here
The gist: Hear how games can be used for good from Asi Burak, award-winning game creator and social innovator, and president of Games for Change. He’ll dive into the latest trends, challenges, and successful case studies of the gaming for good movement from around the world.

Posted in Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Games for Change looking for
2 Production Interns

1508_Games for Change internship posting

Games for Change is seeking two production interns to support a range of game development projects. Candidates for this unpaid internship should meet the below qualifications and requirements.

  • Very reliable, self-motivated, and proactive
  • Passion for and interest in social impact games and video game development (production, design, and development)
  • Highly organized and detailed-oriented
  • Strong communication skills and ability to work with remote teams
  • Desire to share Games for Change’s mission

Position details:

  • Support G4C staff (VP of Production and Program Manager) in daily activities across range of game development projects
  • Conduct research on games, game-related programs, tech opportunities and interventions, and game developers
  • Communicate and manage outreach to partners seeking support with impact game projects and liaise with game developers, funders, researchers, and evaluators
  • Conduct research relating to game projects
  • Compose overview documents and concept decks


  • Seeking full-time applicants (10-30 hours/week; minimum of six weeks)
  • Position based in Boston or New York (with the possibility of remote work for the right candidate)
  • Applicants must be enrolled in a college or university-level program

To apply, please send an email with the subject line “Production Intern” to Tania Hack, Program Manager ([email protected]). Please send your resume as an attachment and include the following information in the body of the email:

  • Availability (hours per week) and location
  • School, program and expected graduation year
  • Overview of interest and experience with social impact games (design, play, etc.)
  • Details on any prior related internship experience


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Industry Circle: Filament Games measures results in learning games


In our second installment of the G4C Industry Circle series, Filament Games shares a case study evaluating the impact of their engineering game Backyard Engineers. Hear even more about how Filament makes learning games and measures their results at our upcoming Google Hangout on September 17 at 2 p.m. EST. Send questions for our Q&A session via Twitter or Facebook with #G4CIndustry. RSVP here.


A Case For Learning Games

Together with physical classroom activities, learning games afford students a more comprehensive view of classroom materials and a more dynamic classroom experience. Learning games can teach students about dynamic content in ways textbooks cannot. With Filament Games, students can explore organ systems, travel through the body as a cell, and watch plants grow and bloom in a matter of minutes. Learning games provide a safe environment for students to explore these environments and experiment with these systems.

Good learning games aren’t designed just for fun; they are designed to teach students predetermined learning outcomes. This case study on the game Backyard Engineers shows how learning games, used in conjunction with other classroom activities, can increase student learning.


Backyard Engineers Case Study

Implementing game-based learning in the classroom creates opportunities for students to further their knowledge by exploring content in a meaningful and engaging way. Not only do learning games inspire and engage students — they help build critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

Learning games can be used in the classroom to teach new content, reinforce previously taught content, and measure student learning. Learning games are at their most beneficial when integrated with additional instructional activities [1]. A well-designed learning game can be seamlessly integrated into classroom experiences to create a richer, more dynamic learning ecosystem. Michele Huppert, seventh-grade STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and math) teacher at Spring Valley Middle School in Wisconsin, incorporated Backyard Engineers into her classroom activities and did just that.

Backyard Engineers is an engineering learning game aligned to middle-school science standards. In order to successfully complete the game, students must customize different catapult elements in order to manipulate movement, accuracy, and range.

In order to bring the advantages of game-based learning into the classroom, Backyard Engineers was incorporated into an interdisciplinary unit tied to Next Generation Science Standards. Not only did the students enjoy participating in the game, results showed an increase in test scores between a pre- and post-test.


Key Results

  • An average 20.09% increase in general student scores between pre- and post-test
  • An average 9.56% increase in scores for students with identified special needs between pre- and post test
  • An average 17.42% increase in scores across all students between pre- and post-test

Key Components of Study Design

  • Pre- and post-test data: Gained through testing using Google Forms
  • Designated in-class game play time
  • Integration of digital and physical activities to reinforce classroom content
  • Post-experience reflective writing activities

Google Forms were utilized to create pre- and post-tests for the 63 seventh-grade students (16 of them were students with identified special needs) in this case study. All of the students received access to Backyard Engineers and played the game on designated lab days. Students also played Backyard Engineers on their own outside of class.

The game reinforced concepts that the students were learning during classroom lessons and activities. Concepts included catapult criteria and constraints, structural design, forces, velocity and acceleration, and work and energy.

In addition to playing Backyard Engineers, the students participated in a culminating event in which they were asked to design, build, and test catapults, towers, and heraldic banners. The students were then able to physically play a game similar to that of Backyard Engineers. When working in teams, students developed social and collaborative skills by selecting leaders to fill team positions.

Backyard Engineers features dashboard capabilities that allow teachers to check in on progress and assess which learning objectives students have encountered. This function is available in real-time, allowing just-in-time intervention when students need it most! Integrated free curriculum is also available to enhance student learning and provide additional classroom activities.

Go to to learn more about implementing game-based learning and schedule a demo!

1. Wouters, P., van Nimwegen, C., van Oostendorp, H., & van der Spek, E. D. (2013, February 4). A Meta-Analysis of the Cognitive and Motivational Effects of Serious Games. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105(2), 249-265.

Posted in Industry Circle | Tagged , , | 1 Comment