Companies & Organizations to Meet at the Festival (Registration Wraps Up Soon!)


Time to register is running out: On Monday, April 14, fees will go up as part of late registration, so be sure to get your tickets before then!


There’s so much to see, play, and do this year:

Who will you meet?

And through our partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, we’re taking games to the streets of NYC with our first-ever G4C Public Arcade.

/// Media & Publishers ///
Cartoon Network
Sesame Workshop
Turner Broadcasting System

/// For-Profit Entities ///

/// Academia ///
Arizona State University
Carnegie Mellon University
Columbia University
Full Sail University
Harvard University
MIT Dalai Lama Center for Ethics & Transformative Values
MIT Media Lab
New York University
Parsons The New School For Design
SVA Design for Social Innovation
The University of Manchester
Tufts University
Yale University

/// Game Companies ///
E-Line Media
Filament Games
Frima Studio
Game Gurus
Schell Games
Valve Corporation

/// Public Sector ///
American Museum of Natural History
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Birds Nest Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Common Sense Media
Heifer International
Joan Ganz Cooney Center
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Museum of the American Indian
NYC Department of Education
Philadelphia Zoo
Planned Parenthood
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Robin Hood Foundation
Smithsonian Institution
Startup Box
The Code Liberation Foundation
The Museum of Modern Art

And finally, a bit of background on who’s coming to the Festival:

  • New audiences: Two-thirds of registrants are attending their first Festival this year! Meet some of them at our networking events: opening night party, speed networking, meet the experts, morning workshops, and topic tables.
  • Our industry is young (literally!): Half of attendees are 18 to 34 years old. Meet the future creators of social impact and games.
  • International guests: More than 10% come from outside the U.S., representing the U.K., Denmark, Colombia, Canada, Brazil, Belgium, Australia, and Israel.
  • Where attendees work: Professionals from the games industry (25%), nonprofits and NGOs (25%), and academia (25%), as well as a diverse representation of funders, start-ups, media, and more.
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Institute of Play Unveils Talks, New SimCityEdu & NASA Games at G4C Festival

By Ilena Parker, Senior Communications Manager, Institute of Play


Institute of Play is proud to partner with Games for Change this year to show festivalgoers just how irresistible learning can be. As a content partner of the Games for Change Festival, we’re bringing a number of talks, activities, and (of course) games to venues around New York City from April 22-24 and 26.

Collaborating for Change | April 22 at 2:45 p.m.

On the first day of the Festival, leaders from our venture GlassLab will take the stage to share how the Lab’s unique collaboration model gives unlikely partners a platform to take a stand against the engagement crisis that is wreaking havoc on our nation’s schools. In the talk, which is called Collaborating for Change, GlassLab will discuss how a multidisciplinary approach can create impact at scale by activating and empowering developers, educators, and a whole host of other collaborators with a role to play in 21st-century learning.

One of GlassLab’s most recent collaborators is NASA. The space agency, with its extensive library of educational resources, has spent decades inspiring people to wonder, to ask questions, and to deeply engage with our world. How can we leverage NASA’s experience and resources to engage kids while helping them develop the skills and ways of thinking that lead to college and career success?

GlassLab will also officially announce and launch the Lab’s second game, a tablet game created in collaboration with NASA. As a much-anticipated follow up to SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge! (released in November 2013), this launch is not to be missed by anyone interested in checking out the fruit of GlassLab’s unique collaborative approach – and learning what the future holds for educational games.

Designing for Impact | April 22 at 3:45 p.m.

Also on Tuesday, GlassLab Games Director Michael “MJ” John will join a panel to discuss how commercial games can engage players in social causes. In Designing for Impact: How Commercial Games are a Platform for Engaging Players in Social Causes, experienced game designers will share how they leverage the built-in audience of commercial games to achieve social impact at scale, without sacrificing the game experience or the business results. It’s a fine balancing act between often competing priorities, but when it works, it can provide a powerful and promising way to solve the world’s most complex challenges. The other panelists in this conversation include Abby Speight from, Jude Ower from Playmob, and Oliver Miao from Pixelberry Studios.

Games for Change Public Arcade at Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair | April 26, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This is an especially exciting year to be a part of Games for Change, as the Festival partners with the Tribeca Film Festival to shine a light on what games can do as an interactive medium for experience and expression. The Games for Change Public Arcade will be open to the public all day on Saturday, April 26, during the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair.

At the Games for Change Public Arcade, Institute of Play is proud to present games and activities from the innovative New York City public school Quest to Learn. At this school, Institute of Play game designers collaborate with teachers to develop game-like lesson plans as well as actual games that students play in the classroom. Visitors to Institute of Play’s tent can try some of these games and game-like activities from Quest to Learn to find out how we go about using games in the classroom to engage students and improve learning outcomes. Families can also learn some tips and strategies to use while playing games at home to tap the full learning potential of any gameplay experience.

And of course, GlassLab will also be on hand at the Street Fair with a hands-on demo of the tablet game they designed in collaboration with NASA – the first public demo of the game following the launch on April 22!

Everyone is invited to stop by and play at the Street Fair on April 26!

Buy your tickets before April 13, when regular registration ends and ticket prices go up for late registration.

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Vote for Our Game Design Contest Finalists & Enter to Win 2015 Festival Passes

[ Update: Voting has officially closed, and our the game design contest winners have been announced! Give a round of applause for Moon Rush in winning the People's Choice Award and SpaceIL Academy for taking home the grand prize of $25,000! ]

Games For Change, in partnership with the Schusterman Philanthropic Network (Schusterman), has selected the final three designs submitted as part of our Shoot for the Moon game design challenge! These finalists will debut their concepts on stage at the Games for Change Festival (April 22-24 & 26) for a shot at a $25,000 cash prize.

Our finalists bring very different concepts and strong experience, with veteran game legend and Game Developers Conference founder Chris Crawford (creator of pioneering games on real-world issues such as Balance of Power and Gossip), and teams from the Ohio State University and independent studio Theorify.

For the first time, we’re opening voting to the public with the People’s Choice Award, which will also be announced at the Festival next month in NYC.

We’re offering three passes to next year’s Festival (2015) to three lucky voters!

Learn more about the finalists …

Moon RushMoonRushThumb1
Lunar Rocks
(Ohio State University)

Strategically navigate your way to the Moon on limited fuel while avoiding unpredictable obstacles such as meteorites. Land at the Apollo 17 site and capture photos of the Moon’s surface. Learn more and play their demo.
Rocket Science
Chris Crawford

An unmanned rocket simulator for finding the ideal balance between engine power and fuel consumption, and learning about rocket engines and how their size affects the mission. Play through different aspects of: rocket design, launch and boost phase, translunar injection, and the landing sequence while preparing for a mission to the Moon. Learn more.
SpaceIL Academy

You have been recruited to train in spaceflight simulations as a cadet at the space station academy. In this animated massively multiplayer adventure with realistic newtonian physics, fly your customized spaceship on missions to nearby moons and complete STEM homework puzzles to graduate and join the fleet. Learn more and play their demo.


The Shoot for the Moon game design challenge was first announced in February in partnership with Schusterman. It calls on innovative game designers to create a space exploration game, which would assist the SpaceIL team in their pursuit to land an Israeli spacecraft on the moon, and inspire a new generation of scientists and dreamers.

These submissions were finally pared down to three finalists who will receive two complimentary passes to the 2014 Games for Change Festival, where they will present their concepts in front of a live jury and top funders on April 23.

The winner will be awarded $25,000 by Schusterman, in partnership with Games for Change, to create and develop their winning design. The final game will be featured on the SpaceIL website and help crowd source real data to be used in the mission.

Congratulations to our finalists!

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G4C Meetup Everywhere Spotlight: London

By Patrick Feeney, R3D Pixel

The U.K. has produced a large number of games with strong social messages in recent years. Britain’s well-known public service media companies BBC and Channel 4 have been quite innovative in their mission to keep learning, youth education, science, and the arts alive in Britain. So it is fitting that a fair number of games on the G4C website have been produced by British developers. Yet the landscape for social impact games is a challenging one. As the founder of a British/Dutch learning games studio, I am particularly interested in hearing about the challenges and opportunities for making social impact games in the U.K. I therefore organized a London meetup earlier this month using Games for Change’s Meetup Everywhere website.

Most of the 40 participants were socially conscious developers eager to hear about past and present projects and the experiences of others with funding institutions, partners, and clients. We also managed to line up an A-list cast of speakers.

Speaker Panel:

Sharna Jackson, Hopster

Sharna kicked off the evening with a talk about her years with Tate Kids where she commissioned numerous games to promote science, culture, and the arts. Despite Tate’s size and reputation this was a tale of meager games budgets, attempts to cut corners without sacrificing quality, lining up private- and public-sector funding sources, and burdensome grant application processes that practically required dedicated admin staff. Games for change are often the passionate work of indie developers, but for Tate Kids, the ideal development partners were always studios large enough to weather the drawn-out process of applying for grants from private charities such as the Wellcome Trust.

Wondermind-screenshot1_s Wondermind, one of the games released by Tate Kids to empower learning through interactive entertainment.

Despite these challenging circumstances, some wonderful games were launched, including WondermindThe Secret Dancer, and Airbrush. The question is will those kinds of games continue to get made in the future?

Channel 4, BBC, and Tate seem to be making fewer games now. Philanthropies and large studios in the U.K. are not taking an active interest in educational games the way their American counterparts have been. (I’m thinking here of the Gates and MacArthur Foundations, GlassLabEA and

Jo Twist, U.K. Interactive Entertainment

Jo Twist of UKIE knows all about the challenges for games studios and independent developers. She was here to tell us about the efforts UKIE has undertaken to help smaller British studios survive and also to push the idea of games as a socially transformative medium. This includes lobbying for tax credits and subsidies that will help companies that are too small to be of interest to venture capitalist investors and public relations efforts to counter the common perception that games are bad for society. UKIE also runs a Next Gen Skills campaign to reform the national curriculum and build competencies of the tech and multimedia stars of tomorrow.

When it comes to games with a serious message Jo is doing all she can to support their creation, but she wishes the term “serious games” did not exist. It implies that games that are injected with a strong societal or educational message are qualitatively different from “regular games.” Lots of games that are considered “mainstream” have social messages and educational value also, she pointed out, which is why she believes that games are such a powerful source for good. So why do so few socially conscious games get made and why do they struggle to find an audience?

The consensus among the speakers and the audience was that it comes down to analytics and data. There are no clear measures of effectiveness for social impact games. As a result, serious game designers don’t always know what defines success for their games. Yet the ability to show a body of evidence is key to legitimizing a media spend. Jo pointed out that a study was done on the impact of Channel4’s game hub SuperMe, but these studies are expensive, especially for individual games. The U.S. seems to be taking the lead here with the recent set of studies and subsequent white papers published by the Institute of Play. UKIE has actually been in contact with the Institute whose psychometrics platform for game-based assessment will be available globally in the future.

A_GAMES_1_s Worm Attack!, Nine Minutes, and Family Choices three mobile games which served as companion apps to Half the Sky Facebook game.

Matt Walkins, Mudlark

Global impact is indeed what Matt Watkins and Mudlark were after when they were asked by Games for Change to design three games for feature phones for Indian and African audiences. These are the well-known mobile companions to the Half the Sky Facebook game. They include 9Minutes (on healthy birthing practices), WormAttack! (de-worming awareness) and Family Values (highlighting the value of girls in families).

Matt showed videos of his trip to Africa and his work with NGO partners. In East Africa, simple Nokia phones are used to transfer money and get health advice but game narratives with very personal messages intended for both Indian and African audiences posed a whole set of complex challenges starting with cultural appropriateness and language variations. Despite best efforts to deal with these localization issues, there were still some problematic situations.

The Half the Sky games met with suspicion from certain groups who didn’t agree with the message or were wary of anything that smacked of western paternalism. These problems notwithstanding, the games have generated 80,000 to 90,000 play sessions since 2011 and they have been successful enough that Mudlark has now been asked to create a new batch of mobile games. A formal study of the effectiveness of the games has been published and clearly a lot of work went into distributing them and ensuring their proper use. The games are still being used quite actively as tools for NGO field workers who work with pregnant women and young mothers.

Off Grid, one of four games being pitched at the Games for Change Festival.

Game On

So the U.K. scene for impact games is alive and well despite the challenges of decreasing funding. One of our participants Rich Metson was just selected to present his game Off Grid (about privacy issues and abuse of power) at the G4C Festival in New York next month. This was the first well-attended Games for Change meetup to be held in the UK, with some participants traveling from as far as Sheffield and Doncaster in the north of England who expressed interest in hosting meetups “up North.” So far France and Germany have taken the lead in the European chapter of G4C but members of the London meetup have been invited by Katharina Tillmans of G4C Europe to participate in session proposals for the G4CE events taking place this summer. So look out G4C, the British are coming!

Patrick Feeney is an ex-teacher who is consumed by the idea of self-improvement through digital play. He is founder and CEO of R3D Pixel, a British/Dutch studio based in Rotterdam. R3D Pixel makes educational games for health, language, literacy, and mathematics and is about to launch the world’s first educational endless runner game.

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And the 2014 Games For Change Award Nominees Are …

Get ready to play—the 2014 Games for Change Award nominees are here! Narrowed down from a field of over 140 titles, these eight finalists will compete for the winning prize across three categories: Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, and Best Gameplay.

The winning games will be announced on April 23 at the 11th Anniversary Games for Change Festival, and one will be named Game of the Year, as the game that best represents all three categories.

You can register for the Games for Change Festival here.

Have questions for the developers of these nominated games? Leave them in the comments, so we can ask them in an upcoming series of interviews with the creators of these games for change.

Most Innovative Nominees

A screenshot from SoundSelf, which was nominated for the Most Innovative award.

These games best exemplify the use of creativity and technical experimentation in a manner that may pave new ways for games for change.

Developer: Robin Arnott / Platform: Mac, PC, Oculus Rift
A collision of centuries-old meditation technology with the videogame trance. Turn off the lights, amp up the volume, and use your voice to fall through an odyssey of light and body.

Papers, Please (Also nominated for Best Gameplay)
Developer: Lucas Pope / Platform: Mac, PC
From the maker of the G4C Award-nominated Republia Times comes a dystopian document thriller, where players take the daunting role of an immigration inspector for the fictional communist state of Arstotzka. You must decide who can enter and who will be turned away or arrested.

Súbete al SITP
Developer: 12 Hit Combo! / Platform: Android, iOS, Web
Bogotá’s new Integrated Public Transport System (SITP) brought Colombia’s capital more mobility but also more confusion: SITP is a complex system with fees varying by bus, time of day, and rider age. With thousands of active players, Súbete al SITP helped the city get up to speed by teaching players how to get around.

Most Significant Impact Nominees

Mission-US_mission3_cast2A screenshot from the Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey, nominated for the Most Significant Impact award.

The games in this category best exemplify impact for a specific social issue with proven actions and outcomes.

Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey
Developers: THIRTEEN, American Social History Project, and Electric Funstuff / Platform: Mac, PC, Web
In the first interactive project told from a Northern Cheyenne perspective, players must react to the encroachment of settlers, expansion of railroads, decline of buffalo, and rise of the reservation system in the 1860s and 1870s.

Start the Talk: Underage Drinking
Developer: Kognito / Platform: Android, iOS, Web
This roleplaying game helps parents build practical skills and confidence to talk with their child about underage drinking in real life.

The Migrant Trail
Developer: Gigantic Mechanic / Platform: Web
Based on the 90-minute documentary “The Undocumented” by Marco Williams and inspired by learning videogame The Oregon Trail, The Migrant Trail provides a first-person experience of the hazards that migrants and Border Patrol encounter along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Best Gameplay Nominees

A screenshot from Gone Home, nominated for Best Gameplay.

These games have shown highly compelling and engaging gameplay that aligns with and reinforces social issue goals. The winning game is one that is also polished in design, functionality, and thematic execution.

Gone Home
Developer: The Fullbright Company / Platform: Mac, PC
June 7, 1995. You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. What’s happened? Unravel the mystery in this story game that challenges you to explore the secrets and artifacts of a family that seems as real as your own.

Developer: Preloaded / Platform: Android, iOS
TyrAnt is a real-time strategy game that teaches the player how ants eat, communicate and, ultimately, reproduce within a delicate and biologically diverse ecosystem. It is among the first of the science, math and English language arts games that Amplify has produced for sale to schools across the United States and, soon, internationally.

Papers, Please (also nominated for Most Innovative)

We thank our talented panel of judges, which featured leaders of the gaming community, philanthropic sector, nonprofits and education, for their lending their time and thoughtful critiques in selecting the award nominees.

Nominating Panel Members:

  • Michael Astolfi, Carnegie Corp.
  • Harish Bhandari, Robin Hood Foundation
  • Karl Brown, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Brian Chung, IGDA NJ
  • Brian Crecente,
  • Ellen Doherty, WNET
  • Jason Eppink, Museum of Moving Image
  • Nick Fortugno, Playmatics
  • Jesse Freeman, Amazon
  • Nina Freeman, Code Liberation Foundation
  • Tracy Fullerton, University of Southern California Game Innovation Lab
  • Nettrice Gaskins, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Robert Gehorsham, Institute of Play
  • Sheila Jagannathan, World Bank
  • Christer Katila,
  • Collen Macklin, Parsons The New School for Design
  • Jude Ower, Playmob
  • Yaniv Rivlin, Schusterman Foundation
  • Haviland Rummel, SCE
  • Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency
  • Abby Speight,
  • Phil Stuart, Preloaded
  • Clive Thompson, Wired, NY Times
  • Stephen Totilo, Kotaku
  • Greg Trefry, Come Out & Play
  • John Vaskis, Indiegogo
  • Pete Vigeant, ESI Design
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Let the Games Begin! Meet Our Pitch Event Contenders

The Games for Change Festival (April 22-24 & 26) will host its first-ever on-stage pitch session in which games in development have the chance to make their case to top funders from the worlds of industry, foundation, government, and private equity. Meanwhile, the Festival audience will get the inside scoop on what just might be the next best games for change.

The four games competing for the attention of our jury:

FHI 360, Engagement Game Lab

CyberRun is a fast-paced, multi-level, action-puzzle game designed to promote and teach Internet literacy. The game uses exploration, narrative, and rewards to introduce the inherent risks of Internet use and teach players to safely navigate complex issues of security and privacy, digital hygiene and online networking, and advocacy.

Flying Mollusk

A nominee from the 2013 G4C Awards, Nevermind is a biofeedback-enhanced horror adventure game that brings you into the dark and twisted world within the subconscious psyche of trauma victims. The acclaimed biofeedback horror adventure game becomes more challenging as you get scared, honing your ability to manage anxiety while taking you on an unforgettable adventure.
Off Grid
Rich Metson, Pontus Schonberg

There are dark and greedy forces creeping into our everyday lives. Civil liberties and the Internet as we know it are under threat. This is the world we live in. Off Grid is a cross between a political thriller and a dark comedy, married with traditional third-person stealth gameplay.

Our City
NetHope, Social Game Universe, E-Line Media

Our City is a city-building Facebook game to be piloted in Jordan, focusing on using the power of social games for civic learning and youth engagement. Players will gain civic knowledge and skills that they can apply in their digital and real-world communities.

Meet the Pitch Event Jury
Drawing on expertise from games, social causes, and the arts, this jury of seven judges will critique and give feedback on each game live on stage.

  • Greg Kieser, Robin Hood Foundation
  • Itzik Ben-Bassat, angel investor, formerly of Blizzard Entertainment
  • Ken Weber,
  • Marc Ruppel, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
  • Michelle Byrd, Former Co-President of Games for Change
  • Phil Ashcroft Chair, BAFTA L.A. Games Committee
  • Tom Giardino, Valve Corporation


The Games for Change Festival is now one month away! Get your tickets before regular registration ends on April 13, 11:59 p.m. ET. Register here.


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Come Out & Play @ Games for Change Festival 2014

By: Greg Trefry, Gigantic Mechanic / Come Out & Play

Players will have a chance to practice their remote control prowess in Control the Grownups, made by Gigantic Mechanic. Players will have a chance to practice their remote control prowess in Sesame Street Box Heads, made by Gigantic Mechanic.


Physical games can be a great way to teach, engage, and provoke both players and spectators. While video games and board games can deliver lots of information to players, physical games let players embody a role and bring an idea to life in a very visceral way. We should know. We’ve been running Come Out & Play, the annual festival of street games for eight years and have seen all manner of interesting real-world games. For this Games for Change Festival (April 22-24 & 26) session, we have assembled a diverse set of physical games exploring topics from executive function to Roman history to banks and bull markets.

As with any game, we think the best way to understand it is by playing it. During the session the designers will lead players through their game and then discuss the design and aesthetic goals driving the game.

When Asi, Games for Change’s president, asked if we would help curate a set of physical games we were very excited. Come Out & Play and Games for Change worked together several years ago to run a contest that challenged designers and developers to create a physical real-world game that literally left the world a better place in the area that it was played. The winning game, The Commons was built and run at Games for Change in the area around City Hall in 2011.

The Commons was a great example of a physical game with interesting aspirations for change.  And it certainly wasn’t the only one. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of interesting games that sought to provoke, teach and cajole players into learning and action. Come Out & Play is a very player-focused festival. We draw regular folks looking for something fun to do on a summer weekend and offer them a host of weird, exciting, fun, and sometimes educational games to play. Through games like Running of the Stocks and Humans vs. Mosquitoes, we’ve exposed a lot of people to some interesting ideas. We saw the Games for Change session as a way to share some exemplary games with the serious game community and show them how regular players are already engaging with fun, smart physical games that expand their horizons.

But we didn’t want the session to turn into a showcase for the same type of learning just in a physical format. So we picked a wide range of easy and quick to play games that explore a range of ideas and approaches to educating.

Running of the Stocks
Designed by Nick Fortugno of Playmatics, Running of the Stocks was originally made to be played on Wall St. in front of the New York Stock Exchange. The game is a piece of sly commentary on bull markets and the frenzy of investors. Players run down the street grabbing stock certificates off the ground while being chased by runners with bull horns. Get caught by a bull, and you get gored. But if you manage to make it to the end of the street with a fistful of stocks, you can sell or trade them with the banker. Through clever use of location and simple mechanics, the game creates a frenzied, fun experience that casts a suspicious eye on the market. For this session, we’ll be staging the game up in Greenwich Village, and while we may be missing the NYSE façade, we’ll still have the fun and frenzy.

Players trade cards as part of Antidote Games’ Sandwich Shop Players trade cards as part of Antidote Games’ Sandwich Shop

Sandwich Shop
Sandwich Shop, created by our friends at Antidote Games is a card-trading game to help players understand the systemic effects of public defecation. Players compete to make the best sandwiches by strategically trading for the best ingredients. Each sandwich consumed gets you closer to winning, but just like in real life, produces a bit of human waste in the process. Can you successfully navigate an increasingly dirty environment to come out on top?

Death Throes of the Republic
Created by game, media and experience designer Pete Vigeant, Death Throes of the Republic is an epic live-action retelling of the fall of the Roman Republic, inspired by Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History.” Three selections from the piece will be premiered at Games for Change as a series of games that teach players about Roman history and rituals through simple physical games. As a senior designer for ESI Design, Pete leads the ESI Game Lab and draws upon his passion and expertise in game and youth-focused design to lead and develop interaction, media, concept, and game design for numerous ESI projects. He has created and launched a series of immersive live-action group experiences to promote collaboration through play, spectacle, and narrative gameplay.

Sesame Street Box Heads
In addition to helping run Come Out & Play every year, we at Gigantic Mechanic also make our own games. We’ve done a lot of event games aimed at teens and adults. But for Games for Change we wanted to challenge ourselves to make something a bit out of our wheelhouse by designing a game for a younger audience. We called up our friends at the Sesame Innovation Lab and they too were excited by the idea of making a fun physical game. We decided to base the game around the principle of executive function. We brainstormed a number of approaches, playtested them and landed on . In the game, kids use a Nexus 7 tablet as a joystick to control blindfolded grownups who receive directions through Bluetooth-enabled headphones. Unable to see where they are going, the grownups listen for audio commands like “turn,” “go forward,” and “grab the cookie!” The kids use the arrows on the tablets to race Elmo and Cookie Monster to catch the cookie. It makes for some empowering fun for kids while helping teach left, right, and a bit of patience.

We’re excited to have you come play with us on Wednesday April 23. We’re also excited to share these games with the general public at the Games for Change’s part of the Tribeca Family Day on April 26. Are you ready to come out and play? We are!

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2014 Festival: Full Schedule Revealed

Dan Ariely_G4C14

It’s here! The full schedule for the G4C Festival is online, as well of our list of speakers who will be exploring the what, why, and how games have impact.

Expect more of a TED vibe this year, as we invite top researchers to share how games and game thinking can shape everything from economics to neuroscience. One such talk will come from behavioral economist and irrationality expert Dan Ariely (pictured above in his famed Lego experiment on workplace happiness), who will show his findings on play and motivation in tackling long-term tasks that we often put off. (A savings account? What’s that?)

But we’ve told you about our keynotes before. Our other themes this year are:

Industry Engagement

The State of the Industry returns, with the second half focusing on the State of the Indie. In Designing for Impact, participants from, PlayMob, and GlassLab examine commercial models for integrating impact. (Keep your eyes peeled for a special announcement from GlassLab at the Festival, too!) Illustrating the impact of a game that knows no bounds, the United Nations summarizes results from youth-led public works in Kenya, Sweden, and Haiti through its partnership with Minecraft developer Mojang in Block by Block – Using Minecraft In Urban Planning Projects.

Independent Games

Paolo Pedercini of Molleindustria recounts 10 years of Making Games in a F****d Up World. And indeed, the world is not always a friendly place for impact game makers: Benjamin Poynter chronicles the birth, quick censorship-induced death, and afterlife of indie game In A Permanent Save State. It’s not all doom and gloom here though! Mary Flanagan of Tilt Factor will highlight the design features of games that are proven to change hearts and minds in Games for Change 2.0. We’ll also hear about grace in games from Josh Larson, who’s currently working on That Dragon, Cancer.

Learning and Research

We’ve played many amazing transformational games… but how do we know they’re working? Yale development economics professor Dean Karlan illustrates how takeaways from interventions in microfinance, health, and charitable giving could also help measure and assess impact games. For the first time, Games for Change launches a public discourse that aims to spell out big-picture frameworks for change games at Impact from Games? Pick the Right Field First! Our friends at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center yet again bring together powerful panels on games and learning in both Building Games That Schools Need and Remaking Learning. (Expect more big news from the Cooney Center sometime next week!)

Gender and Inclusivity

The lady coders at the Code Liberation Foundation kick off a series on gender and games with their Changing the Ratio workshop on encouraging female participation in game development. Gamers 2.0: Girls and Gaming Culture takes a deeper look into young girls’ own wants and perceptions of the games they play, followed by Mary Flanagan, Jennifer Jenson, and Heidi Boisvert providing new knowledge and promising practices in challenging gender-based violence in games. Finally, Constance Steinkuehler, Jane McGonigal, and Idit Harel Caperton take the stage to host a conversation on games and gender. Nearly half of Festival speakers this year are women, and we’re thrilled to have them speaking on such important issues at the Festival (and hope someday such representation will be the norm!).

Networking and Games

The Festival starts on Tuesday, April 22, with two hours of speed networking, which will make sure you have plenty of new friends before our opening night party and to play Come Out & Play outdoor games with the next day. Or you could bond with fellow attendees over game-making at one of our morning workshops. These will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so watch for sign-ups soon!

But Wait… There’s More!

That’s only scratching the surface of what will be going on at the Festival. Check out the full schedule, and let us know what you’re excited about!


One Month Left to Register



Regular registration ends on April 13, 11:59 p.m. ET.
Get your tickets before prices go up!


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Go Beyond Games: Explore New Media With G4C at the Tribeca Film Festival


As you know, we’re excited that the G4C Festival (April 22-24 & 26) is an integral part the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T.

However, it is also an important component of the first-ever Tribeca Innovation Week (April 21-26) that was announced recently.

The full week features five other tech-centric events along with the Games for Change Festival, and we wanted to make sure you are aware of them all.

All-inclusive passes are now available for the week’s events:

Games for Change Festival (April 22-24 & 26)
We hope you know all about our phenomenal program for the 2014 Festival! Check it out at

Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards (April 25)
Co-sponsored by Accenture and AT&T, this beloved event honors innovators and disrupters from health care, education, religion, sports, politics, media, and gaming. Previously open only by invitation, this year’s awards are open to the public. The theme will be “From Outer Space to Inner Space: a New Sputnik Moment?” Learn more about the first 15 honorees.

Future of Film Talks (April 21-24)
Starting with a conversation with Oscar®- and Emmy®-award winner Aaron Sorkin, this series returns with a great line-up of live programs that explore the status of cinematic narrative at the intersection of technology, culture, and commerce.

Tribeca Hacks (April 25)
Creative media makers will work with technologists and designers to imagine and invent new possibilities for storytelling in an increasingly mobile and connected world. Using smartphones and tablets, participants will be able to experiment with all different storytelling modes. Want to mingle with these creative minds and some festival VIPs? There will be an exclusive reception where creators present their finished works. Tribeca Hacks is sponsored by AT&T.

TFI Interactive (April 26)
TFI Interactive, an initiative of the nonprofit Tribeca Film Institute with leadership support from the Ford Foundation, is back to assemble the brightest thinkers and innovators from the worlds of film, media, gaming, technology, and society to explore storytelling in the digital age. This daylong summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive activities.

Storyscapes (April 23-26)
The Tribeca Film Festival and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin proudly offer five transmedia projects an opportunity to showcase their creativity within a festival setting at the Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination. Visitors to this immersive gallery will see first-hand how the conventions of visual storytelling are changing through genre-bending projects. The space will be open to the public for four days during the festival.


You can still register for just the Games for Change Festival at But if you’d like to explore the latest from the games and allied creative communities together, Tribeca’s Platinum Pass ($699) provides access to the G4C Festival and the events listed above.

Visit for more information and join the conversation on social media by using #TribecaInnovation.

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Shoot for the Moon: Win $25,000 in a new G4C design challenge


Update: The submission period has ended. Click here to vote for our finalists and be entered to win tickets for the 2015 Festival. (Voting ends April 10.)

G4C will award a prize of up to $25,000, sponsored by the Schusterman Family Foundation, to create a space exploration game that takes players to the final frontier for SpaceIL, as it competes in the $20 million Google Lunar X Prize.

SpaceIL, a nonprofit organization, is working to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. Through this mission, SpaceIL aspires to create a new “Apollo effect,” inspiring the next generation to think differently about science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM).

The challenge invites game designers to envision an interactive experience that encourages space exploration and at the same time captures comprehensive real-world data that will inform the mission of SpaceIL.

Three finalists will be selected to present their ideas on stage at the 11th Annual Games for Change Festival (April 22-24 & 26) with the full attention of attendees, potential funders, and a live jury. The winning design concept will be announced at the festival and in the media. The final game will be featured on the SpaceIL website.

Key Dates

March 14: Submissions due
March 21: Finalists selected and notified
April 23: Finalists present designs and live juried competition at the Games for Change Festival

What Do You Get?

3 Finalists 1 Selected Winner
  • Two complimentary passes to the 2014 Games for Change Festival
  • Complimentary travel and lodging during Festival
  • Recognition on the Games for Change website and Festival communication
  • Opportunity to present design and network with other funders, activists, and designers
  • Up to $25,000 to create a design prototype
  • Mentoring from Games for Change during the pre-production and prototype development process (up to one year)
  • Opportunity to pursue future collaboration with SpaceIL
  • Press and promotion on Games for Change’s website and social media channels


Click here for a complete background, competition guidelines, and criteria, and then submit your game here. We look forward to seeing your submissions!

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