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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.
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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
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.
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
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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ 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
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!
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:
• Visionary game makers
• The year’s best games for change
• Unequalled networking opportunities
And this year, we’ll be adding:
• 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:
• 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.
[ 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.
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.
- 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|
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