(Above: Games for Change Award jury members Edwin Schlossberg and Lucy Bradshaw joined by Greg Trefry on the far right, and 2x Games for Change Award winners Chris Bell and Jim Monroe.)
The winners of the Games for Change Awards were announced during a ceremony held at NYU Skirball Center on June 20, 2012. The event culminated the 9th annual Games for Change Festival, the largest games gathering in New York City and the leading global event focused on leveraging entertainment and engagement for social good. Game of the Year went to WAY, an online cultural bridge-builder in which two players must communicate how each uniquely sees the world in order to overcome obstacles.
The full list of 2012 Games for Change Award winners are:
- Most Significant Impact: SPENT
- Most Innovative Game: WAY
- Best Gameplay: Unmanned
- Knight News Game: Unmanned
- Game of the Year: WAY
This year saw the submission of 67 diverse games, from which eight top titles were culled and three nominees named in each of four categories. Nominees were chosen by a panel of 35 experts across the gaming industry, media, education and philanthropy, among other areas.
”We were pleased to see more diversity and higher quality among this year’s nominees and winners, with significant participation of mainstream game designers and developers,” said Michelle Byrd and Asi Burak, co-presidents of Games for Change (G4C), the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social good.
The 2012 Games for Change Awards were presented by jury members Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis/Electronic Arts, a G4C Awards juror and Festival closing keynote speaker, Greg Trefry, co-founder and game designer with Gigantic Mechanic, and Edwin Schlossberg, founder and principal designer of ESI Design.
Duane Bray, partner of IDEO and head of Global Digital Business also participated on the jury, which selected winners across four competitive categories.
The Knight News Game was judged by a separate panel of jurors, which included Eric Brown, CVO and COO of Impact Games, Hybrid Learning Systems, Dr. Gonzalo Frasca, creator and co-founder of Powerful Robot Games, Nora Paul, director of the Institute for New Media Studies, University of Minnesota, and Jason Rzepka, VP of public affairs for MTV Networks. The award is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to recognize games that feature current events, documentary subject matter, infographic news data, or that exist as a news platform to engage individuals and communities.
Following is additional information on the winning games (for more information, please visit http://gamesforchange.org/festival2012/awards/):
SPENT is built upon a simple challenge and its tough choices: Start with $1,000 and try to last one month without running out of money. Think you could pull yourself out of poverty? The game uses gaming principles to demonstrate that poverty is about circumstances, not character. Developer: McKinney, funded by Urban Ministries of Durham and McKinney. (http://playspent.org)
Unmanned cast players as the newest kind of soldier: one who remotely drops bombs on foreign soil during the day, and goes home to his family at night. Here the conflict is internal, the only bloodshed from shaving cuts. The game subtly confronts players about 21st-century warfare, personal and technological disconnection, multitasking, introspection, and game culture. Developer: Molleindustria + No Media Kings. (www.unmanned.molleindustria.org)
WAY is an online game utilizing puppetry in which two anonymous strangers around the world collaborate and communicate. As in real life, everyone sees the world differently. Together, players must communicate how they each uniquely see the world in order to overcome the obstacles that separate them. Developer: CoCo & Co. (www.makeourway.com).