Announcing $5,000 in scholarships to Playcrafting’s game design courses in NYC

Games for Change and Playcrafting logos
Virtual reality at Playcrafting

We are proud to announce $5,000 in scholarships, sponsored by the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, to Playcrafting’s game design courses in New York City.

Playcrafting empowers the game development community through local events and education in New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. Their game development and design topics curriculum is taught by top instructors with real-world experience.

With these scholarships, we hope to enable more aspiring creators to acquire the skills they need to design games for social change and share their stories. To help make quality game-making education available to under-represented groups in the games industry, we are thrilled to partner with Playcrafting to offer the following scholarships:

  • Learn Unity in 8 Weeks: A $1,000 scholarship, bringing the total course cost to $1,500 for the next course starting in April
  • Game Writing Primer: A full $600 scholarship for the next course starting April 18
  • 8-Class Pass: A full $200 scholarship for entry to 8 one-night classes

The application deadline is April 10 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Each request will be reviewed by a panel of Playcrafting instructors and advisers. They will consider the following when reviewing responses: Would this person be able to attend a Playcrafting course without the support of a scholarship? How will attending this course benefit this person’s game design skills? How will the applicant use these new skills in the long-term?
 

Apply Here


 
If you have any questions, please reach out to Games for Change at contact@gamesforchange.org.

Posted in G4C Announcement | Leave a comment

Reminder: G4C Festival submissions due this Friday, March 24

Games for Change Festival 2017

3 days left to submit your game or talk!
Deadline for Festival submissions is March 24

We are accepting submissions to the 2017 Games for Change Festival through March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST. A limited number of games and session ideas will be selected and receive complimentary Festival passes. Please send your submissions through the forms that we have linked to below.

Game Awards

Each year, we celebrate the year’s best social impact and learning games at our G4C Awards ceremony and feature an on-site arcade of the Awards finalists for Festival attendees to play. If you have launched or will launch a game between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, then go for it!

Categories include: Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative, Best Game Play, Best Learning Game, and Game of the Year.

Deadline: March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST
SUBMIT HERE

Session Ideas

The 2017 Festival will focus on emerging areas in the impact games sector, each as a unique track of programming:

  • Neurogaming & Health
  • Civics & Social Impact
  • Games for Learning
  • VR for Change Summit

Have an idea for a talk that doesn’t fit in one of these tracks? Don’t worry — presentations, discussions, demos and challenging ideas outside of these topics are welcome, too!

Deadline: March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST
SUBMIT HERE

Posted in G4C Festival | Leave a comment

G4C Migration Challenge winner announced

G4C Migration Design Challenge

Congratulations to planpolitik for its winning concept, Next Stop: Weichenbach

We are thrilled to announce the winner of the Games for Change (G4C) Migration Design Challenge, an initiative presented by The Richard Lounsbery Foundation and in partnership with the Migration Policy Institute. The Migration Design Challenge aims to inspire the creation of a game that connects existing and migrant communities and emphasizes cultural integration.

The winner of the challenge’s $10,000 grand prize is Next Stop: Weichenbach, a game concept submitted by German design studio planpolitik. Next Stop was selected for its relevance to the pressing public policy issue of refugee integration, impact goals, and gameplay — the simulation game places the player in the shoes of a range of characters to foster empathy from multiple viewpoints. Additionally, the well-defined game system — inspired by face-to-face training simulations — is suited and designed for classroom/in-school use, demonstrating that the context of use was considered in the design.

“Around the world, debates about the integration of immigrants and refugees are taking place in the media, classrooms, the justice system, political rallies, and even pop culture,” said Migration Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Jeanne Batalova. “The most appealing feature of the Next Stop: Weichenbach game concept was its practical approach to addressing a real-life issue: How to ensure newcomers’ integration while acknowledging the legitimacy of different stakeholders’ views and interests?”

Earlier this year, the Migration Design Challenge asked game designers how can a game help people understand and work through concerns over perceived job competition? How can a game experience emphasize community engagement to help migrants and their neighbors improve their understanding of each others’ cultures?

G4C received 190 submissions from 31 countries, including multiple submissions from Belarus and Kazakhstan; dozens of entries from the UK, US, and Latin America; and individual submissions from countries such as Croatia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, and Slovenia. Many submissions highlighted the struggles of immigrant journeys and sought to highlight the inequities immigrants can face. Some depicted highly personal experiences and reflected concerns, fears, and hopes for the future. A number of gameplay formats were proposed, but most were simulation adventure games, depicting a multitude of global viewpoints. Most submissions (126 out of 190) were from people who had no prior experience working on migration policy or issues.

Since 2012, G4C has organized game design challenges around a wide range of topics, including nuclear threat reduction, reproductive health, and space exploration. This year the focus was on immigrant integration, sponsored by The Richard Lounsbery Foundation. The Migration Policy Institute was invited to be the subject matter expert. The 190 submissions received in the Migration Design Challenge represented the second highest number of the eight challenges that G4C has run to date and well above the average number of 75 submissions received. Challenges that ask for only game concepts generally receive higher submissions than the ones that require developers send a prototype.

A panel of game designer judges and subject matter experts from the Migration Policy Institute selected one winner, who will receive a $10,000 prize to support further development of their game, and four honorary finalists who will receive complementary tickets to the Games for Change Festival.

WINNING GAME DESIGN CONCEPT
Next Stop: Weichenbach (planpolitik)
A multiplayer, browser-based simulation game that allows up to 35 players to take over the roles of fictitious municipal decision makers and other stakeholders to negotiate an intriguing scenario about the integration of newly arriving refugees. The game aims at fostering empathy as well as creating awareness about the legitimate interests of all groups involved. Teachers moderate the experience in the classroom or through online portal, and students engage in discussions from various viewpoints to understand needs and concerns of all sides.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Below are details on the four finalists selected for honorable mention.

Welcome Home (ELF Experience)
Honorable Mention: Best Representation of Theme
An open-ended game styled after The Sims creates a lively, diverse building community and invites players to expand knowledge about immigrant groups; explore the challenges and opportunities presented by immigrant integration; and recognize the importance of diversity and integration to the overall community’s well-being.

Robolandia_s_634px
Robolandia (Alexander Cooney)
Honorable Mention: Most Imaginative Gameplay
Players experience immigration first-hand by creating both native and immigrant avatars and controlling their characters’ life decisions over the course of three simulated weeks.

By abstracting people as whimsical robots, and by substituting real communities with a fictional, prosperous island filled with opportunity, players will be able to engage in meaningful dialogue with the underlying social, economic, and residential tensions and opportunities created by immigration without becoming distracted or biased by their real-life manifestations.

Tapestry (Team Kaizen)
Honorable Mention: Best Mechanics as Message
A real-time strategy game that helps players understand the cultural backgrounds of both natives and immigrants in a community.

The player would have to build cultural bridges between all the various peoples so when stressors such as societal/political turmoil come along, the strength of their community tapestry (with each community member being a metaphorical ‘thread’) would be tested. The end goal is to instill behaviors in the player that involve celebrating differences while unifying and finding strength in love and community.

Stand on my Blanket (Natasha Boskic)
Honorable Mention: Best Innovation & Player Engagement
Based on the blanket exercise, this mobile-phone game will encourage players to explore unfamiliar places in their city and interact asynchronously with prior and future participants. By completing a set of tasks intended to help them connect with each other and the wider community, players will hear each other’s narratives and work on issues together. The game enables participants to walk through the process of social unrest, forced displacement, migration out of the country of origin, struggles on the journey, and adaptation in a new country.

Posted in Design Challenge, Opportunities | 2 Comments

Deadline extended! G4C Festival submissions due March 24

Games for Change Festival 2017

Submissions deadline extended:
Send ideas and games by March 24


Have you been busy with GDC, DICE, and SXSW? Since it’s a jam-packed time of year, we have extended the deadline for submissions to March 24.

We are still looking for new and exciting games for our G4C Awards, as well as forward-thinking speakers to present at our 14th annual G4C Festival, July 31 to August 2. If you have any questions, please contact us at festival@gamesforchange.org.

Thanks to everyone who has sent in their submissions so far!

Game Awards

Each year, we celebrate the year’s best social impact and learning games at our G4C Awards ceremony and feature an on-site arcade of the Awards finalists for Festival attendees to play. If you have launched or will launch a game between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, then go for it!

Categories include: Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative, Best Game Play, Best Learning Game, and Game of the Year.

Deadline: March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST
SUBMIT HERE

Session Ideas

The 2017 Festival will focus on emerging areas in the impact games sector, each as a unique track of programming:

  • Neurogaming & Health
  • Civics & Social Impact
  • Games for Learning
  • VR for Change Summit

Have an idea for a talk that doesn’t fit in one of these tracks? Don’t worry — presentations, discussions, demos and challenging ideas outside of these topics are welcome, too!

Deadline: March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST
SUBMIT HERE

Posted in G4C Festival | 1 Comment

A letter to our community & invitation to #ResistJam


 

A letter to our community
 

Help us shape the future of Games for Change and
join us in supporting #ResistJam

 
Dear friends,

It has become clear to us over the last year that the role and vision of Games for Change is as important as ever. So we want to express our enduring commitment to the G4C community and the values we hold in highest regard: diverse perspectives, creative and progressive thinking, respectful dialogue, and collaboration across industries and sectors. Regardless of what happens in the world around us, we will strive to act according to these values.

It’s our 14th year, and as good a time as ever to reaffirm our mission, and also reflect on how we can do better. Many of us are asking the same questions: how do we uphold our values in our work? What projects should we prioritize in these erratic and fast-moving times? Where will funding come from? Who is exemplifying this critical work and how might I learn from them?

Games for Change is actively working to address these questions. Our annual G4C Festival will emphasize diversity and inclusion across all three tracks of programming and our first-ever VR for Change Summit. As such, our team of curators will strive to highlight the work and achievements from underrepresented communities.

As our first effort, G4C is showing its support as a media partner for the #ResistJam game jam, intended as an opportunity for game developers to stand up against authoritarianism, wielding our powerful medium to express sentiments around government policies that potentially exclude individuals from participating in our art form. #ResistJam, presented by IndieCade and partners Devolver Digital, the International Game Developers Association, Raw Fury, and Global Game Jam, launches today and runs until March 11. The event offers mentorship and workshops from experienced members of the games industry to ensure that as many people as possible can participate, no matter their skill level. Join #ResistJam here.

But it does not end with #ResistJam. Here is a request from us to you: where and how do you believe we can best help? What things are you focused on that you believe we should be aware of? What would you like to hear from us at the upcoming G4C Festival?Please get in touch with us; we want to hear from you!

To our vibrant community of game creators, storytellers, and believers in games for impact, thank you for taking risks and continuing to advance our critical field. We hope you feel that you can continue to rely on G4C as an advocate and platform for your work, and appreciate suggestions and feedback for how we can do so.

Sincerely,
The Games for Change team
 


 
Reminder: Make your voice heard at our Festival

We are accepting submissions for talks, sessions and demos until March 15. Send us your ideas or games here!

Posted in G4C Announcement | Leave a comment

Register for the 2017 G4C Festival and the new VR for Change Summit

Games for Change Festival 2017

Register now and save on all passes with the early-bird rate 

Registration is now open to attend the 14th annual Games for Change Festival, July 31 – August 2 in New York City, produced in collaboration with Parsons School of Design at The New School.

The G4C Festival is the largest convening for the gaming impact community and for exploring the positive power of digital games and virtual technology through conversations, interactive workshops, networking events and a marketplace showcasing new platforms.

This year, experience the VR for Change Summit on August 2 — a brand-new event to explore how virtual technologies can drive social change.

Passes are available for the Festival and the VR for Change Summit separately or purchase a PREMIUM pass to experience all three days.
 

Buy Now


 


 
VR_for_Change_logo_634px
 
Announcing the VR for Change Summit 
 
The VR for Change Summit is a unique convening on how we can advance virtual technologies for social change. The Summit will bring together developers, storytellers and researchers to explore impact-minded VR, AR, and mixed reality projects. Through a day of interactive exhibits, conversation and keynotes, participants will meet the trailblazers of this new sector.

At past Festivals, we have featured virtual technology leaders including Magic Leap, Valve, Google, Microsoft, HTC, Fove, and MIT Media Lab. This year, there will be a full third day of the Festival dedicated to the potential of these cutting-edge new media across sectors — from journalism and social justice to healthcare and education.

Tickets for the VR for Change Summit can be purchased with Festival passes or separately. We are accepting submissions for talks, sessions and demos here until March 15.


Buy Now


 


 
Reminder: Festival submissions deadline is 2 weeks away 

We are accepting submissions for talks, sessions and demos until March 15. Send us your ideas or games here!

Posted in G4C Festival | 1 Comment

Filament Games shares how to promote civics education through serious games

  YouTube Live Q&A Session with Filament Games (March 1)

 
In our third installment of the G4C Industry Circle series, Filament Games and iCivics.org will share the four P’s of designing learning games with impact. Join our YouTube livestream on March 1 at 3:30 p.m. EST to learn more and ask them questions.

Register

FilamentGamesIndustryCircle

Promoting Civics Education through Serious Games

By Filament Games

In today’s political climate, it’s important to remember that there is a strong link between civic knowledge and civic engagement. Simply put, our system thrives if Americans understand how our government and its branches work. In fact, our public schools were founded to teach young people to understand these structures, and to cultivate informed citizens. Yet students are growing up in an uncivic-minded era. More than ever, there is a concern that young people are not voting and are becoming disillusioned with the political process.

Filament Games has been working for years to address this issue with their partner iCivics.org, which was recently named one of 2017’s Most Innovative Education Companies by Fast Company. With a reach of over 7 million students, 155,000 registered teachers, and users in all 50 United States, the platform is having a massive impact on how America teaches civics.

Filament has partnered with iCivics.org over the years to publish a total of 19 civics learning games on their platform. Efficacy has been measured by multiple research organizations, providing fascinating insights into the positive impact that game-based learning can have on civics education and teaching outcomes in general:

But what fuels the efficacy of these games? Over the years, Filament Games and iCivics have developed a game and platform design methodology with a dedicated focus on purpose, process, practicality, and playability. Carrie Ray-Hill, iCivics Director of Content, recently unpacked this methodology in an article titled “The 4 P’s of Designing Learning Games with Impact,” published on the Filament Games blog. This methodology drives impact in each game through successful incorporation of learning objectives, design and platform choices that engage the player in a way that sticks, and in a way that supports the larger educational effort of iCivics.org.

To learn more about how games can support civics education, tune into our G4C Industry Circle YouTube livestream on March 1 with Filament Games, a two-year member of the Industry Circle. Dan White and Dan Norton, co-founders of Filament Games, will be joined by Carrie Ray-Hill of iCivics for a discussion about the 4 P’s of designing impactful learning games, the community stewardship that helps to inform a bipartisan take on our country’s governance, and, with an eye toward the future, how Filament is helping update the existing iCivics platform and games to better support classrooms and districts as they increase tablet utilization.
 

Register
Posted in Industry Circle | 1 Comment

Submit your ideas and games to the 2017 G4C Festival

UPDATE: We have extended the deadline for submissions from March 15 to March 24.

Games for Change Festival 2017

 
Submit your ideas and games for this year’s Festival by March 24

 

We are now accepting submissions for our 2017 G4C Festival, taking place on July 31 – August 2 in New York City. We welcome your ideas for sessions (talks, panels, workshops and demos) and game nominations for our annual G4C Awards. A limited number of submissions will be selected and receive complimentary passes to the Festival.

The Festival is a platform for all voices and backgrounds, and provides an opportunity to celebrate and reinforce G4C’s core values: diverse perspectives, creative and progressive thinking, respectful dialogue, and collaboration across industries and sectors. As such, our team of Festival curators will strive to highlight the work and achievements from underrepresented communities.

The deadline for all categories is March 24 at 11:59 p.m. EST. We look forward to hearing from you!
 

Session
Ideas

The 2017 Festival will focus on emerging areas in the impact games sector, each as a unique track of programming:

  • Neurogaming & Health
  • Civics & Social Impact
  • Games for Learning
  • VR for Change Summit

Have an idea for a talk that doesn’t fit in one of these tracks? Don’t worry — presentations, discussions, demos and challenging ideas outside of these topics are welcome, too!

Deadline: March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST
SUBMIT HERE

 

 
 

Game
Awards

Each year, we celebrate the year’s best social impact and learning games at our G4C Awards ceremony and an on-site arcade of the Awards finalists for Festival attendees to play. If you have launched or will launch a game between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, then go for it!

Categories include: Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative, Best Game Play, Best Learning Game, and Game of the Year.

Deadline: March 24, 11:59 p.m. EST
SUBMIT HERE

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

G4C Student Challenge open for submissions

2017launchimage


Deadline to submit games is April 1


Games for Change has opened the submission portal for the second annual G4C Student Challenge. Games must be submitted by April 1, 2017. Middle and high school students in Pittsburgh, Dallas and New York City public schools are eligible and encouraged to participate. Games must be about one of the three challenge themes — Future Communities, Climate Change, and Local Stories & Immigrant Voices — and playable on a web browser. Access the submission portal here, and learn more about how to get involved here.

G4C is pleased to announce a partnership with the National STEM Video Game Challenge, for a new prize category, the Games for Change Prize. Students nationwide are welcome to submit games designed to help people learn, improve their communities, and contribute to making the world a better place. Students participating in the G4C Student Challenge are also eligible to submit their games to the STEM Challenge. The deadline is May 1, 2017. The STEM Challenge is hosted by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, E-Line Media, and founding sponsor the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

About the G4C Student Challenge
The G4C Student Challenge is a digital game design competition that invites students to create games about issues impacting their communities. As part of the national program, G4C offers game design courses for students in select public schools facilitated by teachers trained and supported by national curriculum partner Mouse. Winners receive prizes from Ubisoft and local civic and cultural organizations. An awards ceremony and exhibition of student games will be hosted in each city in June 2017, and grand prize winners will be honored at the 14th annual G4C Festival (July 31 to August 2) in New York City.

QU9A5731_s

Participants & Partners
The program website provides multimedia content about each challenge theme, and over 150 resources for both students and teachers, including a gallery of example games and Get Started Guides to help students begin their game projects and teachers introduce game-based learning to their classrooms. Professional game designers serve as classroom advisors to students, and game jams in each city offer further opportunities for students to learn game design and programming, and deep dive into the theme topics with local historians, technologists and scientists.

Over 2,000 students have participated in the program, and over 90 teachers have been part of the professional development program from nearly 70 different schools, the majority of which receive Title I funding. Through the Challenge’s hands-on game design program, students develop 21st-century skills such as systems thinking and inquiry-based learning by both designing games and engaging in civic problem solving. Teachers learn to use game design as a teaching tool, and communities benefit from students’ active engagement in local issues.

The G4C Student Challenge program is run by Games for Change in collaboration with Mouse, Institute of Play, the Sprout Fund and Big Thought, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Best Buy Foundation and The New York Community Trust.

G4C is currently seeking partners for the 2018 program. If you are interested in becoming a supporter or bringing the challenge to your city, please email us at studentchallenge@gamesforchange.org.

Posted in Student Challenge | Leave a comment

How Schell Games empowers their teams working on transformational projects

  YouTube Live Q&A Session with Schell Games (Jan. 31)

 
In our second installment of the G4C Industry Circle series, Schell Games shares their Transformational Games Framework. Hear even more about how their studio applies this process to a variety of games at our YouTube Live session with Sabrina Culyba, principal designer at Schell Games, on January 31.
 

Register

1602_G4CIndustry_SchellGames

Empowering teams working on transformational projects

By Schell Games

Schell Games is an independent game studio based in Pittsburgh with an unusually diverse project history. From the studio’s inception nearly 15 years ago, we’ve tackled many unique design challenges running the full spectrum of games and game-like experiences — from mobile apps and theme park rides to interactive toys and virtual reality. For the past five years in particular, we’ve created a number of games designed not only to entertain and engage players, but also to change them. At Schell Games, we call these Transformational Games.
 

Happy Atoms combines a digital app with a physical modeling set. Students create molecules with the physical set, scan them with image recognition technology in the app, and explore the molecules they discover through guided chemistry quests. Happy Atoms began as an internal passion project at Schell Games, with production development supported in part by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Chemistry is a broad topic, and this project used the Transformational Framework to help the team make decisions on where to focus their efforts to improve student intuition and curiosity in relation to atoms and molecules.


We have a strong design culture at our studio that relishes new challenges and working with unusual constraints. We find both challenges and constraints in plenty of supply when working on Transformational Games. While these projects can be exciting and rewarding in terms of their potential positive impact on the world, teams working on these games often struggle mightily with issues like working with diverse stakeholders, unfamiliar domain content, and defining what it means to be successful.

 

Night Shift is a game designed to train emergency room doctors to make better decisions about whether they should transfer patients. This project is a collaboration between Schell Games and the Department of Critical Care Medicine in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, funded by the National Institutes of Health and currently in trials to evaluate its effectiveness. This project used the Transformational Framework to help navigate the needs of a very specific and technical audience.

 
To help our teams become more confident and effective in addressing these issues, we’ve developed a pre-production tool we call the Transformational Framework. This Framework is really a series of exploratory questions that drive the first phase of the development process, covering eight critical topics:

  1. High-Level Purpose: What is the big-picture goal for impact on the world that is motivating your game’s development? How does this impact goal compete with other goals like profit, popularity, or critical acclaim?
  2. Audience & Context: Who is the audience for your game — not only those who will play it but the gatekeepers and community members that will also affect the game’s impact? Where, when, and how often will the game be played and how will that help or hurt the game’s effectiveness?
  3. Barriers: What things stand in the way of your purpose and how you want to change your players? Why aren’t they already changed?
  4. Player Transformations: What are the defining ways you want your players to be different after playing your game?
  5. Expert Resources: Who or what are the people, books, etc., that you consider authoritative sources of insight and feedback on your domain and how will you integrate them into your process?
  6. Key Concepts: What is the critical content from your subject matter that your game experience needs to be embody? And just as importantly, what content will be excluded?
  7. Supporting Research: What pre-existing theory and case studies are informing your choices?
  8. Assessment Plan: How will you and others determine if your game is effective?

Image 3-Transformational Framework_Schell-Games

We’ve found working through the Transformational Framework helps everyone on the team better understand how to contribute to the direction of the game, even if they don’t have formal training in the game’s subject matter. Because the Framework drives many critical conversations early in the process, it helps teams and clients uncover mismatched assumptions before development is too far along. The Framework also gives our teams a shared language that they can use when discussing lessons learned between projects.
 


PlayForward is a game designed to help at-risk teens develop the skills they need to make smarter life choices, thereby reducing their exposure to HIV. This game was developed in partnership with Yale University’s play2PREVENT lab and has been the subject of a multi-year clinical trial to evaluate its effectiveness. As the first big Transformational Games project at Schell Games, this project was a huge inspiration for development of the Transformational Framework.

 
At Schell Games, we have a simple shared philosophy: we make things we’re proud of, with people we like, to make the world a better place.  We use the Transformational Framework as a tool to help our teams be more successful in this work, and we’d love for you to use it in your process, too.  To learn more about using the Transformational Framework, join us on January 31 for a special G4C Industry Circle YouTube Live session.

Posted in Industry Circle | Tagged , | 3 Comments