Announcing the 2nd annual G4C Industry Circle members

Announcing the 2nd annual G4C Industry Circle members

Meet them at the Festival this week!

Games for Change is celebrating its 13th conference this year, but how close are we to transforming from a movement to a self-sustaining industry? Join us for the second edition of the G4C Industry Circle, which recognizes some of the businesses and industry leaders who are pushing the boundaries of the games industry in a positive direction.

As part of this initiative, Industry Circle members are lending generous support to this year’s G4C Festival, where they will also share some of the keys to their success with our community at the Industry Circle Town Hall on Thursday, June 23.

Schell Games

One of the largest independent game studios in the U.S., Schell Games has been making games to change people for the better since 2002. Their library of innovative, transformational games spans everything from the mobile market to cutting-edge VR. 


With their collection of animated educational content, BrainPOP aims to engage students and empower teachers and parents. Their learning games library, GameUp, features over a hundreds games covering 7 subjects and hundreds of different topics.


Specialists in creating interactive experiences of all types, Playmatics has created award-winning interactive comics, augmented reality games, and museum installations. They have collaborated with a wide variety of clients ranging from AMC and Red Bull to USAID, the New York Public Library, and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. 

Filament Games

With over a decade of experience making games, Filament Games has created over 100 best-in-class digital learning games across a multitude of subjects and age groups. Their games have won 17 awards, sold over 65,000 copies on Steam, and their games through iCivics have seen more than 35 million sessions in all 50 states.

Town Hall and Meet the Industry Circle

Don’t miss these Industry Circle events at the Games for Change Festival this week!

Industry Circle Town Hall (June 23, 4 p.m.): Join leaders from BrainPOP, Filament Games, Playmatics, and Schell Games for a panel moderated by former White House Senior Adviser for Digital Media Mark DeLoura. The Town Hall features short talks by leaders from each organization, followed by a Q&A and open discussion of the existing and changing landscape of social impact games.

Meet the Industry Circle (June 24, 10:45 a.m.): The 2016 G4C Industry Circle members, including BrainPOP, Filament Games, Playmatics, and Schell Games, will be available for free 15-minute consultations. Appointments are first-come, first-served. Sign up at the Festival any time after 12:30 p.m. on Thursday at the registration desk.

Festival passes still available online!

We still have some Games for Change Festival passes left! We won’t be selling any passes on site, so register online by tomorrow to attend.

Buy Pass

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Celebrate with us at the G4C Awards + Opening Night Party, co-hosted by Playcrafting

Come party with us and Playcrafting at the G4C Festival!

Come meet and celebrate with the Games for Change community! The opening night party on June 23 is a chance to meet leaders from games, social innovation, edtech, media, and more.

At the party, we’ll host our Games for Change Awards Ceremony, where we announce the year’s best digital games for impact and learning. Learn more about the finalist games here and vote for your favorite in the Mashable + G4C People’s Choice Award today.

  • 7:00 p.m.: Doors open
  • 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.: G4C Awards Ceremony
  • 8:30 p.m.: Games and open bar

Attending the Games for Change Festival? Admission to the party comes with your festival pass. (Check your email!) If you do not have a Festival pass, you can still join us! Buy a party ticket on this page.

See you next week?

We’re less than a week away from the Games for Change Festival! Passes will not be available on site. Make sure to get yours ahead of time online!

Festival Passes
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G4C Festival: Meet with experts at our networking sessions


Save time for networking events @ the Games for Change Festival


Final days for regular-rate Festival passes!

In between the fantastic lineup of speakers, panels, and workshops, attendees will have time to meet potential partners, funders, and friends at organized networking and breakout sessions throughout the day. More info on our very special opening night party coming soon!

Speed Networking
An opportunity to network with leaders in the game world and experts in social change. Meet someone new, after five minutes the gong rings, and you’re off to a new connection. Reservation will be required. RSVP info will be sent to registered attendees!

Meet the Industry Circle
Leaders from the 2016 G4C Industry Circle, including BrainPOP, Filament Games, Playmatics, and Schell Games, will be available for free 15-minute consultations. Appointments are first-come, first-served. Sign up on site at the Festival.


Final days for regular-rate Festival passes!

In a few days, Games for Change Festival pass prices go up for late registration. Save $50 by getting yours today!

Buy Pass
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Games for Change Festival pass prices go up next week

On Monday, June 13, Games for Change Festival pass prices go up for late registration. Save $50 by picking up your pass today!

Check out the full Festival schedule and start customizing your agenda with our new app, Sched. Stay tuned for an announcement on our networking events, which include one-on-one consultations and speed networking with industry experts.

Buy Pass

Are you a student or indie game developer? We still have special deals just for you — register here!

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Vote for your favorite game in the Mashable + G4C People’s Choice Award

For the second year in a row, Mashable has partnered with Games for Change to present The Mashable + Games for Change People’s Choice Award, as voted on by you.

The Games for Change Awards has four categories voted on by teams of judges: Best Gameplay, Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative and Best Learning Game. It also contains a People’s Choice category for fans to cast their vote, and Mashable is partnering with G4C to host the voting.

All nine games, no matter which award they were nominated for, are up for the People’s Choice Award. Vote for your favorite here!

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Climate Challenge finalists announced: Winner to be revealed at the G4C Festival

We are proud to announce the four finalists in the Games for Change Climate Challenge, an initiative presented by the PoLAR Partnership, Autodesk, and Games for Change that aims to inspire people through digital games to tackle the problem of climate change at the local, regional, and global level.

A panel of judges selected the finalists to present their prototype live on stage at the Games for Change Festival in New York City on June 24. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize to support further development of their game.

Earlier this year, the Climate Challenge asked game designers, educators, students, and scientists of all experience levels to submit a working prototype of a digital game focusing on scientifically-grounded climate solutions, such as preventing carbon emissions, preparing for impacts, and/or promoting public awareness and understanding. More than 50 submissions were received from around the world, ranging a wide variety of climate topics and design approaches.

Block’hood (Plethora-Project)
Block’hood is a neighborhood simulator with emphasis on ecology and entropy. By simulating the carbon and energy contributions of each part of a city, the game raises awareness and allows players to find solutions for climate change. It is also nominated in the 2016 Games for Change Awards for Best Gameplay.

Eco (Strange Loop Games)
Build a civilization with other players in this virtual world where everything you do affects the ecosystem. Eco is focused on creating the real social systems, policies, and scientific understanding needed to effectively address climate change.

Carbon Runner (Pew Pew Studios)
Carbon Runner is a game about making environmentally conscious decisions. Control the Green Ninja as he has to choose to collect or destroy items, which are good or bad for the environment.
Urban Climate Architect (CliSAP/CEN Outreach, Ute Kreis, CEN Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability, Universität Hamburg)
This drag-and-drop city-building game helps players understand how we can get our cities ready to deal with climate change and its consequences. It focuses on which elements of the urban environment are important for the climate and how to reduce the effects of global climate change in cities. Play the prototype here.

The Games for Change Climate Challenge is sponsored by the Autodesk Foundation, Dell, Intel, NVIDIA, and the Columbia Climate Center, with support from the National Science Foundation.

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2016 Games for Change Europe Festival: Immigration, Integration, Self-Esteem Restoration, and the Power of Videogames

G4C16 Euro Banner Final

Across the ocean from the 13th Annual Games for Change Festival in New York City, the 2016 Games for Change Europe (G4CE) Festival, will take place in Paris from June 9 to 10, aiming to inspire inspire the videogame industry to help find solutions to tackle one of the most important issues of the century: immigration.

The G4CE Festival features talks from developers, educators, refugee activists, and more, focusing on areas like the restoration of self-esteem to refugees, educating the public on immigration issues, and integrating migrants into new cultures.

The first day of the G4CE Festival will begin with a morning of talks on the latest achievements in the social impact games field and wrap up with a presentation of prototypes from a student hackathon on immigration. The hackathon, organized by CNAM (ENJMIN – CEDRIC), Paris 8 University, UNESCO ITEN, will take place on June 7 and 8.

On the second and final day of the festival, speakers and attendees will start the day by brainstorming game design ideas that could be implemented in the coming months. Themes for these workshops could touch on the following aspects of immigration: education, psychological issues, self-esteem restoration, and social entrepreneurship. Groups will then present their ideas or projects, and the best ideas or projects will be selected, with the goal of presenting their prototypes or near-finished versions at the 2017 G4CE Festival.

With talks from Colabee Games co-founder Dima Veryovka (The Forest Song), refugee advocate Cheija Abdaleh, Digixart creative director Yoan Fanise (Lost in Harmony), and many more, this year’s G4CE Festival is not one to miss! Want to learn more? See the full schedules of panelists and speakers for June 9 and June 10.

If you can’t make it, follow Games for Change Europe on Twitter and the hashtag #G4CE2016.

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Announcing the 2016 Games for Change Award nominees

Congratulations to the finalists in the 2016 Games for Change Awards! Join us at the Games for Change Festival on June 23 and 24 to play these games and see who wins at our annual G4C Awards ceremony, celebrating the year’s best games for change.

We are excited to share the inaugural nominees in our new category—Best Learning Game. The games from all categories will compete for the top honor, Game of the Year, which is awarded to the nominee that best exemplifies all categories.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their games and to our jury of leaders from the gaming community, social impact sector, media, and tech, who dedicated their time to rigorously evaluating all entries.

Developer: Plethora-Project
Platforms: Windows, Mac
A neighborhood-building sandbox game that presents an ecological take on city planning. Celebrating the diversity of cities, the game invites players into a narrative that builds an understanding of resource dependencies and empathy for the neighborhoods we live in.


Life is Strange
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
A five-part episodic experience that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present, and future. The game handles identity, bullying, suicide, teen pregnancy, love, friendship, and everyday dilemmas alongside moments of adventure.


That Dragon, Cancer
Developer: Numinous Games
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Ouya
An immersive, narrative video game that retells Joel Green’s four-year fight against cancer through two hours of poetic, imaginative gameplay that explores themes of faith, hope, and love.



Super Powers Legion
(Legião dos Super Poderes)

Developer: PushStart Studio / Platform: Web
A game designed to change kids’ habits by mixing the real and virtual worlds. Children have to eat healthier and practice physical activities to gain superpowers in-game, evolving their heroes and defeating all enemies.


Life is Strange
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
A five-part episodic experience that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present, and future. The game handles identity, bullying, suicide, teen pregnancy, love, friendship, and everyday dilemmas alongside moments of adventure.


Syrian Journey
Developer: BBC / Platform: Web
A digital project that explores the plight of the Syrian refugees. By choosing their own escape route in this newsgame, the audience takes their own personal dramatic and heart-wrenching journey to face dilemmas based on real-life stories.



Life is Strange
Developer: DONTNOD Entertainment
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360
A five-part episodic experience that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present, and future. The game handles identity, bullying, suicide, teen pregnancy, love, friendship, and everyday dilemmas alongside moments of adventure.


Lumino City
Developer: State of Play / Platform: iOS
A game crafted entirely by hand out of paper, card, miniature lights, and motors, resulting in the construction of a 10-foot-high model city. In this setting weaves an enthralling adventure. Lumi’s grandfather has been kidnapped and to find him you must embrace sustainable living practices and navigate the mechanisms that power this world.


That Dragon, Cancer
Developer: Numinous Games
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Ouya
An immersive, narrative video game that retells Joel Green’s four-year fight against cancer through two hours of poetic, imaginative gameplay that explores themes of faith, hope, and love.



DragonBox Numbers
Developer: WeWantToKnow
Platforms: iOS, Android
A game that gives children who are at the outset of their math education the foundation they need in order to succeed: a strong sense of numbers and fluency with addition and counting.


Mission US: “City of Immigrants”
Developers: THIRTEEN/WNET New York Public Media, Electric Funstuff, American Social History Project 
Platform: Web
The fourth in a series of free digital role-playing games made to immerse students in U.S. history. Players assume the role of a Russian Jewish teen who immigrates to New York City in 1907 and joins the growing labor movement.


NOVA’s Evolution Lab
Developer: NOVA / Platform: Web
A puzzle game and interactive tree of life that challenges players to build phylogenetic trees, complete missions based off of the evidence for evolution, and explore the connections between over 70,000 species.




Regular registration ends soon!

Less than two weeks remain to get Games for Change Festival passes at regular registration prices — on June 14, prices increase. Get your now!

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New G4C Festival keynotes: Sid Meier, Chris Weaver of Bethesda Softworks, Magic Leap, and more


Announcing more Festival keynotes!

Sid Meier, co-founder, Firaxis Games
Often regarded as “The Godfather of Computer Gaming,” Sid Meier is a co-founder and director of creative development at Firaxis Games. He has programmed, designed, and produced several popular strategy games, including the beloved Civilization series. Sid will join G4C President Susanna Pollack in conversation.


Christopher Weaver, founder,
Bethesda Softworks

Christopher Weaver founded Bethesda Softworks, a videogame publisher whose library includes the Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and Dishonored franchises, and now teaches engineering and computational media at MIT and Wesleyan. He will discuss how games work and why they are such potent tools in areas as disparate as military simulation, childhood education, and medicine.


Graeme Devine, chief game wizard,
Magic Leap

Magic Leap’s Graeme Devine will share the secretive startup’s vision for mixed reality in the classroom and the technology that makes it possible to interact with virtual objects in real life. Step into Magic Leap headquarters in their profile in Wired for a peek at the powerful platform they’re promising.

Erik Huey, SVP of Government Affairs,
Entertainment Software Association

Erik Huey, SVP of government affairs at the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), will present the Games for Learning Summit’s opening address, discussing how the ESA supports and provides insights into the growing sector of games in the classroom.


Full Festival schedule now online

The full schedule for the 2016 Games for Change Festival is live! Start bookmarking your favorite sessions here.

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G4C Festival: Our Civics & Social Issues track, curated by Matt Parker 🌍

G4C Festival 2016 Civics & Social Issues track

Announcing the 
Civics & Social Issues program

While we are excited to be branching out this year to support learning– and health-focused games, the heart of the Games for Change Festival has always been its focus on games that address civics and social issues. The Civics & Social Issues track highlights the medium’s ability to engage with contemporary concerns regarding social impact and responsible citizenship. Check out some select sessions and meet the track’s curator below!


Full schedule to be announced tomorrow on the Festival website.
We still have some surprises in store!




TALK: Games and the National Endowment for the Humanities
Join William D. Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and USC professor and Game Innovation Lab director Tracy Fullerton for a conversation on making games for the humanities.



KEYNOTE: Girl Scouts guide to teaching STEM with games
Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez explains how the Girl Scouts is developing a generation of social entrepreneurs and mentors to empower girls with the 21st-century skills and entrepreneurial know-how to succeed in business, improve their communities, and developing their own advocacy and service projects.

KEYNOTE: State of the Industry
Join former GameSpot editor and current managing editor of Feminist Frequency Carolyn Petit as she shares her insights about the current state of the gaming industry. Drawing on her unique experiences as a visible transgender woman at a major videogame site, Carolyn illuminates how certain limiting attitudes and ideas have become entrenched in games culture, and how we can challenge and subvert those ideas.

TALK: Reaching new audiences with interactive stories

Game designer Sam Barlow, creator of the critically acclaimed Her Story and current director of a reboot of War Games at Interlude, explores how telling stories within popular genres can pull in new audiences and enhance interactivity. Taking in notable examples that have looked outside traditional games for their inspiration, he then looks to the future of interactive storytelling.

TALK: Failing to Change
When we speak of our work, we like to focus on our successes. How does this help us learn as a community? It doesn’t! This session with Colleen Macklin, game designer, professor at Parsons School of Design, and founder/co-director of PETLab, focuses on failure and what it can teach us through a meditation on the meaning of failure in games for change and some painfully true stories from the field.


TALK: Playing with nuclear weapons
Paul Carroll of the N Square collaborative discusses how current games treat nuclear catastrophe as a backdrop to narrative, summarizes the current realities of the world’s nuclear weapons status, and shares how with their new game Epic Orphan will be more forward-thinking on how this subject is treated.


TALK: We all want to be in the room where it happens
Gigantic Mechanic co-founder Greg Trefry shares key design insights from making live-action games that combine theatrical elements, role-playing, and face-to-face interaction, such as the Senate Immersion Module for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, games addressing complex issues, and games that facilitate imaginative play between parents and kids.

TALK: Comedy, games, and social change
Humor can play an important role in humanizing difficult situations and helping us feel empathy for characters. Writer, programmer, and visual artist Mx. Dietrich Squinkifer highlights examples of games that effectively use absurdity and silliness to tell memorable stories about living in the world as a marginalized person. You may even actually laugh at some point. Hopefully.

TALK: A global community for global change
Can a volunteer and collaborative approach be applied to game development and distribution? The nonprofit Video Games Without Borders (VGWB) has been experimenting with this approach for more than one year. Join VGWB founder and former Ubisoft producer Francesco Cavallari in analyzing the lessons learned through the development of the organization.

TALK: Empathy Overload: Choice matters
1979 Revolution creator and Grand Theft Auto veteran Navid Khonsari discusses the immense potential of connecting people through interaction and choice-making in games. Using the recent groundbreaking release of 1979 Revolution as a case study, Navid unpacks a bold world vision, and the rewards and pitfalls of making impact-forward, edgy, real stories into games.

TALK: How to be better at sex (in videogames)
Artist, scholar, and writer Robert Yang wants to talk about sex. Most people think sexual intercourse is important, and games should explore important topics, but most design methodologies for making videogames are breathtakingly terrible for depicting sex. Robert considers current popular attitudes about sex in games, common critiques, and better ways to do it all.


Meet the Civics & Social Issues curator:
Matt Parker is a game designer, teacher, and new media artist. His work has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History, SIGGRAPH Asia, the NY Hall of Science, Museum of the Moving Image, FILE Games Rio, Sony Wonder Technology Lab, and many other venues.

From the curator:
Games are a powerful way to instill empathy and help people connect with others. This year, we are featuring games that use that power to help players identify with underrepresented groups struggling to have their voices heard; cast players in positions of power to confront their biases about how their government works; bridge gulfs between communities; and much more.

Games can help people understand nuanced relationships in ways other media cannot, and we are very proud to be highlighting some of the most impactful games that do just that, whether from organizations dedicated to improving our world or designers using their art to convey meaningful messages.

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