2015 Festival Speaker Line-Up: Spurlock, Kristof, WuDunn, Abrash, Rovio & more!

2015 G4C Festival speakers
From the most successful mobile games to cutting-edge virtual reality projects, this year brings the best G4C line-up yet. Read more about our keynote speakers here, and join us in person April 21-23!


Beyond Games

  • Nicholas Kristof, NY Times columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of A Path Appears
  • Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of A Path Appears
  • Morgan Spurlock, Acclaimed Filmmaker, Super Size Me
  • Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist, Oculus VR


Game Makers

  • Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio Fun Learning, Angry Birds
  • Rami Ismail, Vlambeer, Ridiculous Fishing
  • Meg Jayanth, Writer, 80 Days (Time Magazine’s Game of the Year)
  • Jesse Schell, CEO, Schell Games
  • Frank Lantz, Director, NYU Game Center
  • Eric Zimmerman, Game Designer, faculty at NYU
  • Colleen Macklin, Game Designer, Parsons the New School for Design
  • Naomi Clark, Game Designer, Brooklyn Game Ensemble
  • Adriaan De Jongh, Game Designer, Bounden
  • Cecilia Dolk, Martin Ericsson, Bjarke Pedersen, Nordic LARP creators, Odyssé


Less than one month left to save on passes

Get 20% off all passes by February 20. New in 2015, we’re offering two free tickets to a select Tribeca Film Festival screening for All Access passes!

Register Now

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Show your game to 275,000 people at our Public Arcade!

1501_G4C15_public arcade_w strip

Show your game on the streets of New York City to an audience of 275,000 people at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair!

We’re bringing our daylong G4C Public Arcade (April 25) back to the city’s biggest family street fair — this year with improved pricing and shared tent opportunities!

In its first year, the G4C Public Arcade hosted more than 10 game companies sharing digital and live-action games for attendees to play, along with attractions like 3D printing, bicycle spin art, making low-fi games in under a minute, and more. We showcased family-friendly games alongside other Tribeca Family Festival exhibitors like Disney, ESPN, and Cartoon Network. See pictures and details from the 2014 G4C Public Arcade here.

Prices vary by tent size and the addition of optional equipment, with individual booths starting at $7,500 and shared booths at $2,000. Each participant receives:

  • One 9′-tall high-peaked Tentnology tent (individual or shared)
  • 6′ tables and folding chairs
  • 18” x 24” sign for branding
  • 20-amp power service
  • Optional: Interior decor, tech equipment rental (laptops, tablets, screens, etc.), Wi-Fi

Other benefits include:

  • Passes to the G4C Festival at NYU Skirball (April 22-23)
  • International, national, and local media impressions
  • Logo visibility on G4C Festival collateral and Tribeca Family Festival website and map
  • Inclusion in G4C press releases
  • Full access to post-event photos and videos

Space at the arcade is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. To get started, please email our VP of partnerships Susanna Pollack for more information.

All games presented are subject to approval by Games for Change.


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G4C Festival: Registration opens with 20% off all passes


Passes for our 2015 G4C Festival, hosted again with the Tribeca Film Festival, are now available, with our best early-bird prices. Save 20% by registering today.

  • April 21: Games and Media Summit
  • April 22-23: G4C conference with great talks, games, and networking at and around NYU Skirball Center
  • April 25: Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Street Fair in Lower Manhattan

Register Now
We’ll share more details on our boldest and most exciting lineup of speakers yet over the next few weeks. For now, here are some of the newest additions:

  • Two free tickets to a select Tribeca Film Festival screening: When you register for any G4C Festival All Access Pass! We’ll have more surprises coming from Tribeca soon.
  • Games and Media Summit: Interactive experiences meet linear media. Delve into the crossover territory of games, film, and everything in between, and explore how these innovative new forms of interactive storytelling can address social and political issues.
  • Board Game Night with Babycastles: Put away digital devices and roll out the dice! Our friends at Babycastles are putting together a night of social impact board games.
  • Senate Game: No gridlock here! Join 99 players in a live simulation of the U.S. Senate. The game, launching in Boston in March, was commissioned by the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate and created by Gigantic Mechanic and ESI Design.

Old favorites will be returning, too:

  • Well Played: This compelling series features game experts demonstrating and analyzing a game live in front of attendees. Previous Well Played sessions, hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, examined Gone Home and Papers, Please.
  • Live games from Come Out & Play: The organizers of the annual Come Out & Play Festival of street games will bring a diverse set of fun, frenetic physical games for change. 
  • Learning games content from Cooney Center: As one of the leaders behind the Games and Learning Publishing Council and the National STEM Video Game Challenge, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shares their expertise on games for learning for the third year running.
  • G4C Public Arcade: Stick around through the weekend and invite your friends to experience the G4C Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Street Fair, a free day of great games for change filling a full city block in Lower Manhattan.

Keep an eye on our Festival website for updates!

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Holiday Updates: AmazonSmile,
Indie Arcade & 4 game promotion tips


Donate to G4C by shopping on Amazon
Getting last-minute gifts on Amazon? Use this link to AmazonSmile for your online shopping. When you make any purchase through our AmazonSmile link, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Games for Change at no cost to you. Give a gift that keeps on giving to both your family and friends, and to games for social impact.

Donations are only made for purchases on AmazonSmile (http://smile.amazon.com) and not on Amazon.com. Games for Change is on AmazonSmile year-round, so keep this link handy for future shopping, too. Thanks so much for your support!



The Game Awards honors 5 games for change

“‘Games for Change.’ WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, The Game Awards?”

This tweet (and many to follow) is how we learned that The Game Awards, the new games industry awards show, would include games for change not just among their nominated games but as a standalone category.

The Game Awards, backed by Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, is produced and hosted by Geoff Keighley, who formerly worked on the Spike Video Game Awards, which ended after a 10-year run. It was exciting to see the recognition of games for change on such a large stage, which drew nearly 2 million online viewers in its inaugural year.

Congratulations to Ubisoft’s Valiant Hearts: The Great War, winner of the Games for Change category and the Best Narrative category, too. The other nominees in the Games for Change category were:

  • Never Alone (E-Line Media)
  • The Last of Us: Left Behind (Naughty Dog)
  • This War of Mine (11 bit studios)
  • Mountain (David O’Reilly)

There’s still some public confusion around what “games for change” are. Oh, if we had a nickel for every time someone wondered if games for change references games that are inexpensive. So even with all the excitement, we have a ways to go toward widespread recognition of what games for change stand for and why and how they are important.

Throughout the three-hour awards show in Las Vegas, it seemed like there were more games premiering or showing new trailers than nominees. Many of these were more of the usual, but a handful of interesting titles debuted: Tacoma from Gone Home developer Fullbright, Hazelight from the makers of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and Three One Zero’s Adrift. In the meantime, watch for our own Games for Change Awards nominees, which will be announced in March 2015.



Indie Arcade at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

We brought three social impact games to the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s first Indie Arcade in Washington D.C.! The event was led by the museum, American University (who kindly invited us in the first place), and MAGFest, in partnership with the IGDA chapters in D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

At least 4,000 people came out and played, and our booth was packed with players trying out:

  • Lucas Pope’s dystopian document thriller Papers, Please, selected for its provocative portrayal of immigration and life in a totalitarian country
  • E-Line Media’s Native Alaskan folklore-based cooperative platformer Never Alone, which demonstrates how indigenous culture can be preserved and relayed through digital media
  • iCivics’ fun jury duty sim We the Jury, representing a D.C.-based indie social impact game developer and highlighting core civic duties

Catch up with a quick video from iCivics and the American Art Museum’s recap of the experience.

We’ve really enjoyed showing games publicly around the country so far — at the Tribeca Family Fair in New York, at Chicago City of Learning, and at USAID’s Frontiers in D.C. — and hope to host more public arcades like these in the future. Stay tuned to see where we’ll be bringing games next!



4 tips for getting your game covered by the press

Four journalists from top video game publications — Polygon founding editor Brian Crecente, Kotaku reporter Evan Narcisse, Mashable reporter Chelsea Stark, and Kill Screen co-founder Jamin Warren — convened to talk about best practices for game promotion at a panel, which we co-hosted with Playcrafting NYC earlier this month.

The biggest changes to games and games journalism in the past two years have been widespread recognition of games in mainstream media and games’ growing diversity. And as more people try to understand games, creators who are doing different and innovative things will have more opportunities to express themselves to a wider audience. Panelists agreed that now is a better time than ever for games with unique topics or worldviews to shine. This was especially evident in the titles that panelists cited repeatedly throughout the panel as interesting approaches: This War of Mine, Never Alone, Gone Home, and Papers, Please.

Here are four key takeaways that you can start implementing now to promote your game. For more, read the Twitter feed or watch the entire panel on YouTube.

1. “Figure out what your story is and what you want the player to get out of it.”
– Evan Narcisse, Kotaku

Why are you making this game? How is it different from what we’ve played before? Will the game surprise players and challenge their assumptions or thinking? Does it connect to topics outside of gaming, and how does it reflect these topics? Answering these questions concisely can pique press attention.

2. “Just reach out to journalists. It’s really easy to make that first step.”
– Brian Crecente, Polygon

Don’t be afraid to send that first introduction email! Journalists *want* to hear from developers. Most journalists’ contact information is easily findable or listed on their publication’s website. You might not get a response right away but send gentle follow-up reminders, understanding their inboxes are likely just as overloaded as yours.

3. “Be human when approaching journalists. Ask advice. You’re people, we’re people, let’s act like it.”
– Chelsea Stark, Mashable

No one likes to receive a botched mail merge message that starts with “Hi “. Try researching each outlet and what kinds of games they cover. Once you’ve identified which publications are most likely to cover your style of game, send each of them a tailored pitch. This legwork will take more time but payoff tenfold in comparison to impersonal mass mailings.

4. “Have a press kit and most importantly, have a good origin story.”
– Jamin Warren, Kill Screen

Flappy Bird skyrocketed to fame because it had a great origin story: One unknown designer created a small, simple game that inadvertently went viral in hours, ultimately receiving 50 million downloads. Shortly after, the designer removed the game from the stores, citing unwanted attention. Don’t just talk about your game; share your journey in creating it and why it is interesting. Human stories like these are often attention-grabbing. But don’t forget to give press the basic bullet points about your game. Vlambeer’s free presskit() is a great way to do this!

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In NYC? Join us & Playcrafting for a discussion with top game journalists


How can you successfully pitch your game to the press? Get some tips and takeaways at this panel on Tuesday evening, December 2, at Microsoft’s offices in New York City. Join us for a thoughtful conversation on the state of game journalism and how to capture press attention with four of the top journalists in the industry. RSVP here!

Brian Crecente / Founding Editor, Polygon

Brian Crecente is a founding editor and the news editor for Polygon. He also writes Good Game, a weekly internationally syndicated column. The former editor in chief of Kotaku, Brian was educated at the University of Maryland, College Park. He covered crime and public safety for newspapers in Texas, Florida, and Colorado for 12 years before starting his career as a video game journalist.

Evan Narcisse / Reporter, Kotaku

Evan Narcisse is a reporter for Gawker Media, where he writes about video games and pop culture for Kotaku. Prior to his work at Kotaku, Evan wrote about video games, comic books, and pop culture for Essence, AOL, the Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and Crispy Gamer.

Chelsea Stark / Games Reporter, Mashable

Chelsea Stark is Mashable’s games reporter, covering everything from AAA titles, indie gems, and all the culture in between. Originally hailing from Austin, Chelsea moved to New York four years ago to pursue her master’s in journalism from NYU and ended up at Mashable along the way. She wears many hats at Mashable, penning reviews, news, features, and creating videos.

Jamin Warren / Co-Founder, Kill Screen

Jamin Warren founded video game arts and culture company Kill Screen. Formerly a culture reporter for the Wall Street Journal, he serves as an advisor to MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. Jamin also hosts Game/Show for PBS. His thoughts on games and digital culture have been featured in NPR, the New Yorker, New York Times, Paris Review, and others. He’s also spoken at SXSW, the NY Film Festival, and XOXO.



Don’t forget!
Deadline for Festival submissions is Dec. 15

We’re now accepting submissions to the 2015 Games for Change Festival (April 21-23 & 25). A limited number of games, talks, and pitches will be selected and receive complimentary Festival passes. Make your submissions at the above link and let us know if you have any questions at festival@gamesforchange.org.

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Submit Games, Talks, & Pitches to the
2015 G4C Festival (Deadline 12/15)

[ Update: The deadline for awards has now passed and the links are no longer active. Thank you to all who submitted! ]

As promised, here’s everything you need to submit your work and ideas to the 2015 Games for Change Festival! A limited number of games, talks, and pitches will be selected and receive complimentary Festival passes. Deadlines for all categories are December 15, 11:59 p.m. EST.


Diversity and Inclusion

A core value for G4C inside and outside of games, diversity is particularly on our minds due to recent game industry developments. We invite submissions that engage all genders, cultures, races, socio-economic status, and backgrounds. Projects that directly foster diversity will receive special attention as we feel that it’s critical to showcase innovation that challenges the status quo.



Topics include game design for impact, financing, distribution, new technologies and platforms, and diversity and inclusivity. Presentations, discussions, demos, and provocative rants are all welcome!


Expert jurors from games, social impact, and media will select finalists to be showcased at the Festival and presented at the annual ceremony. If you have launched or will launch a game for change between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, then go for it!


We'll select the most compelling in-development games for our on-stage pitch session, hosted by game designer and NYU professor Eric Zimmerman. Place your next great project right in front of top funders and the audience to receive exposure and meaningful feedback.

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Festival Submissions Open Nov. 14:
Send your games, talks, and pitches


We’re looking for speakers, games, and pitches to be a part of the 2015 Games for Change Festival! A limited number of talks and games will be selected and receive complimentary passes to the Festival. There is no fee for submitting.

We will follow up with a reminder and information on how to submit next week. Deadlines for all categories will be December 15, 11:59 p.m. EST.

Learn about the different categories below. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


We want speakers from both inside and outside the field with knowledge to share about game design for impact, production, financing, distribution, research, new technologies and platforms, and transmedia. Presentations, discussions, demos, and rants are all welcome!


The Festival honors the most impactful, innovative, and engaging games for change of the year. Expert jurors, including leaders in games, social impact, and media, will select finalists to be showcased at the Festival for attendees to play. If you have launched or will launch a game for change between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, we want to know about it!


We’ll select the most compelling in-development games for our on-stage pitch session, giving them the opportunity to place their next great project right in front of top funders. If selected, your elevator pitch might just make your project become a reality.

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Save the Date! 12th G4C Festival Returns April 21-23 & 25 with Tribeca Film Festival


Put it in your calendar: Once again, the Games for Change (G4C) Festival, the largest gaming event in New York City, joins the Tribeca Film Festival’s Innovation Week. It will feature a three-day professional conference (April 21-23) and a daylong public arcade on April 25 at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair, sharing games for social impact with up to 300,000 people on the streets of Manhattan.

From April 21 to 23, we’ll have:

• The world’s top thought leaders in games and social impact
• Visionary game makers
• The year’s best games for change
• Unequalled networking opportunities

And this year, we’ll be adding:

• Even more chances to connect with fellow attendees
• Day passes: You can join for all days or only one or two
• New Tribeca Film Festival benefits
… and stay tuned for more exciting updates!

We’ll continue to send more info as the 2015 Festival takes shape. Keep an eye out for our call for talks and games in the following months! And in the meantime, check out the 2014 Festival’s highlights:

• Videos of talks and panels our YouTube channel
• Photos of speakers, workshops, digital and live games, and more
• Articles to get you caught up on what happened
• A recap by the numbers


Gigantic Mechanic’s Sesame Street Box Heads at the 2014 G4C Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair.

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Win a Trip to IndieCade Next Month from The Games Forum

[ The contest is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! The Games Forum will announce a winner soon. ]


The Games Forum is accepting entries for its giveaway, where one winner will receive an all-access pass and $500 travel credit to IndieCade, an international festival of independent games in Culver City, California, from October 9 to 12.

IndieCade supports independent game development through international events showcasing the future of independent games. It cultivates innovation and artistry in interactive media, helping to create a public perception of games as rich, diverse, artistic, and culturally significant. The annual IndieCade festival is the largest of its kind and is a great opportunity for game developers to bring their work to the international stage.

The Games Forum is a New York City-based company that empowers and grows local game development communities through education, networking and collaboration. This is accomplished through workshops, classes, and events for game developers and those aspiring to make games. Best known for its demo nights and playtest nights that draw hundreds from inside and outside the development community, The Games Forum hosts events in New York City and Boston.

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PEACEApp: Win $5,000 & More for Your Peace-Building Game or Prototype


Have a great game about facilitating peace or an idea for one? Submit it to PEACEapp, a competition that aims to showcase the work of developers who examine peace and promote games as venues for cultural dialogue and conflict management. Send your entry here by the October 15 deadline.

Sponsored by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the United Nations Development Programme, and Build Up, the competition will award the winning entries with $15,000 in cash prizes, an invitation to present their game at the Build Peace Conference in Cyprus, and exclusive mentoring and advising from Games for Change. The competition will consider entries at all stages of development, from prototypes to fully developed, with awards going to five games or apps—three completed works and two prototypes.

Key Dates

  • October 15: Submissions due
  • November 30: Announcement of winners
  • January 31: Dispersal of awards
  • April 25-26, 2015: Winners will be invited to send one representative (all travel costs covered) to Cyprus to present their game or app to Build Peace Conference participants.

What Do You Get?

3 Completed Game Winners 2 Prototype Game Winners
  • $5,000 in recognition of efforts with hope that the prize money can spread the reach of your game or app
  • One member of team invited to Cyprus to present game or app at Build Peace Conference (travel costs paid)
  • Recognition on partner websites
  • Opportunity to present design and network with other funders, activists, and designers
  • Close mentorship from expert developers to help bring your prototype to release
  • One member of team invited to Cyprus to present game or app at Build Peace Conference (travel costs paid)
  • Recognition on partner websites
  • Opportunity to present design and network with other funders, activists, and designers

PEACEapp Criteria

An international jury, which includes representatives from Games for Peace, the Institute for Economics and Peace, Fields of View, Games for Change, and more, will review submitted games and apps according to three values:

  • Affording users a novel experience to engage with knowledge of other groups and issues of identity
  • Creatively engaging players in a playful manner
  • Enabling connections to key social media globally, in terms of functionality, language and reach

Click here for a complete competition guidelines, and then submit your entry. We look forward to seeing your games!

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