Teachers, join our next student game design challenges in NYC, Dallas, and Pittsburgh!

Deadline to apply is September 2!

We’re launching G4C Student Challenges in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Dallas in fall 2016. Teachers in public middle and high schools in these cities are invited to apply to receive professional development in game design and funding to facilitate a course in their schools during the 2016/17 school year. Apply here by September 2.

The training for New York City teachers will take place over two day-long sessions on October 6 and 7. Prior experience in coding and game design is not required. The courses can begin when school starts and are required to begin by October 15.

We are working with partners in each city, including the Sprout Fund, Big Thought, and Mouse, with generous support from national partners Best Buy Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust. Themes that students will design their games around will be announced in September.

If you are interested in partnerships or participating in the program, please contact studentchallenge@gamesforchange.org for more information.

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Announcing the 2015-16 G4C Student Challenge winners

G4C Student Challenge Winners 2015

The inaugural G4C Student Challenge culminated in June with the Awards Ceremony and Public Exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image. Students from public schools across NYC presented their winning games onstage, in front of an audience of teachers, game designers, and program partners.

Winning games were exhibited in a public arcade, and over 100 museum visitors were invited to play students’ games about issues such as animal welfare, youth justice and smart cities, and to learn about this exciting new program hosted by G4C in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education for middle and high school students.  

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 2.15.36 PM

Prizes were presented by each theme partner (The New York Times, ACLU, the NYC Mayor’s Office, A Kinder World Foundation, and Global Learning XPRIZE) to provide students with civic learning opportunities. These experience included a tour of Civic Hall and lunch with NYC CTO Minerva Tantoco, meeting the producers of Storycorps to learn the art of digital storytelling; lunch with a New York Times journalist; and game demos at the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals Adoption Events, as well as Unity software licenses and Pixel Academy workshops.

We will be sharing a program report in August, which will include the results of our 21st-century skills assessment. Thank you again to our coalition of partners who made the NYC pilot a huge success: Susan Crown Exchange, A Kinder World Foundation, Unity, XPRIZE Foundation, Globaloria, Institute of Play, and Museum of the Moving Image!

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Play 100+ NYC-made games at Playcrafting’s Summer Expo! ☀


You’ve likely heard about Playcrafting here before, whether it was from this year’s G4C Awards + Opening Night Party or one of the G4C Demo Nights we co-hosted together. We’d like to highlight their work in supporting the local game development scenes in New York City. If you’re a game developer in NYC, Boston, or San Francisco, see how Playcrafting can support you in making your game a reality!

Playcrafting NYC‘s seasonal celebration of games made in and around NYC is next week! Check out the full list of confirmed games, with more to come, and some of the games for change-related projects below.

We’ll once again welcome over 100 games and their developers as more than 700 fellow developers, industry pros and enthusiasts get hands-on playtime with the latest from these creators. Complimentary gourmet pizza will be provided.

New to Playcrafting? Check out May’s Spring Expo.


School the System

Catherine Schmitz

An online game and interactive fiction that explores zero-tolerance discipline policies in the U.S. K-12 public school system and how these zero-tolerance policies lead to higher rates of expulsion and in the long run, greatly contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline.


Miyeon Kim

A brainwave arcade game designed for people who experience difficulty focusing and concentrating. Wearing a Neurosky headset, players aim to increase their concentration skills through a 2D arcade game.


Hyacinth Nil

A meditation on the interaction between personal identity and social understanding. The player begins with a command-line style interface that enables them to communicate with others in the network. Without a memory, the player must construct an identity from the fragments of information given to them by others–and eventually discover their role in what happened.

Reflections at Sunset

Foolish Heart

This is a text-based game where you view the sights and sounds of the sunset and allow your thoughts to wander towards your personal life. Inspired by the developer’s experiences with meditation and the process of how innocuous thoughts could lead to more personal ones.

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Free Masterclass with Her Story creator Sam Barlow, from our friends at BAFTA

From time to time, G4C likes to highlight our great partners who are expanding the community of game makers around the globe. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, who presented the G4C Marketplace at our Festival last month, would like to invite you to their upcoming Masterclass in New York City on July 18! Her Story creator and multi-BAFTA Award-winning game director and writer, Sam Barlow, will present Reinventing the Police Procedural: How Her Story allowed the audience to play detective in a post-Serial world. Don’t miss this chance — register below!

her story
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts supports, develops, and promotes the art form of the moving image and has been recognizing and rewarding talent in the games industry since 1998.BAFTA is a global network of more than 6,500 games, film, and television professionals in the US, UK, and Asia. The charity runs a year-round international program of live and online learning events that provide unique access to the world’s most inspiring talent. Through these masterclasses, lectures, and debates, BAFTA can connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Our membership not only helps us identify rising stars within the industry but also supports the future of our industries by developing talent through our many mentoring schemes. Through these schemes and scholarship programs, BAFTA initiatives ensure that talent is supported and developed at all levels of the moving image industries.

As part of BAFTA’s Games program, we’re delighted to present a free Masterclass with multi-BAFTA Award-winning game director and writer, Sam Barlow, Reinventing the Police Procedural: How Her Story allowed the audience to play detective in a post-Serial world. The Masterclass is July 18 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City. Click here to register (enter your email, choose registration type Games4Change, and promo code G4C). We look forward to seeing you there!

If you’re interested in joining BAFTA as a Games member, click here for information on eligibility, and a link to our application form. For general information about BAFTA Games, visit our website at www.bafta.org/games.

g4c Bafta
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Games for Change Festival Recap

Wow! What a Festival!

Thirteen must be our lucky number! Our 13th annual Games for Change Festival was a blast, thanks to our amazing speakers, sponsors, attendees, and volunteers who made it all possible.

We’d like to give a special thanks to our curators — Asi Burak (Neurogaming & Health track), Sara Cornish (Games for Learning Summit), and Matt Parker (Civics & Social Issues track) — for bringing together a truly spectacular program.

We’ve uploaded Festival photos to our Flickr, and in the next month, we’ll begin adding videos from nearly 100 sessions to our YouTube channel. In the meantime, catch up on the news from the Festival below!

CivilizationEDU, a modified version of Sid Meier’s Civilization V, will arrive in high schools in North America in fall of 2017. This announcement came from Take-Two Interactive Software, 2K, Firaxis Games, GlassLab, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) during Civilization series creator Sid Meier’s keynote at the Festival.

Developed by Firaxis Games, Sid Meier’s Civilization V has sold more than 8 million units worldwide. CivilizationEDU will provide students with the opportunity to think critically and create historical events, evaluate the ramifications of their decisions, engage in systems thinking and problem solving, and experiment with the relationships between military, technology, political and socioeconomic systems.

Read more about CivilizationEDU on Polygon and Classcraft.

The Festival featured finalists from the Games for Change Climate Challenge, an initiative presented by the PoLAR Partnership, Autodesk, and Games for Change that aimed to inspire people through digital games to tackle the problem of climate change at the local, regional, and global level.

Each of the four finalists presented their prototypes for their games in a live pitch session on-stage, with Eco, emerging as the big winner. Strange Loop Games, Eco’s developer, received a $10,000 grant for their game which allows players to build a civilization where everything you do affects the ecosystem. 

Congratulations to this year’s Games for Change Award winners! Life is Strange won big this year, with the Most Significant Impact, Mashable + G4C People’s Choice, and Game of the Year awards. DragonBox Numbers took home our first-ever Best Learning Game award.

  • Best Gameplay: Block’Hood
  • Most Significant Impact: Life is Strange
  • Most Innovative: That Dragon, Cancer
  • Best Learning Game: DragonBox Numbers
  • Mashable + G4C People’s Choice Award: Life is Strange
  • Game of the Year: Life is Strange

Each year, Games for Change gives an award to one person who has made extraordinary contributions to the impact games community. The Vanguard Award (formerly known as Game Changer Award), acknowledges significant contributions of a practitioner by being a champion, advocate, and mentor for a new generation of game creators.

This year’s Vanguard Award winner is Mary Flanagan, a leading innovator, artist, educator and designer, whose work has included everything from game-inspired art, to commercial games that shift players’ thinking about biases and stereotypes. Flanagan established the internationally recognized game research laboratory Tiltfactor in 2003 to drive social change through games.

The 2nd annual Games for Learning Summit, one of the three tracks of Festival programming, was presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) with support from Microsoft. The Summit brought together leaders in education, government, gaming, and edtech with talks by leaders from the White House, NYC Mayor’s Office, Unity, Code.org, PBS, BrainPOP, and the Department of Education. We learned about the possibilities for mixed reality, VR, and Minecraft in schools, explored business models with SBIR grantees, discussed accessibility and diversity in game design, and more.

Check out the Classcraft blog for in-depth coverage of the Summit.

Presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Marketplace showcased over 20 new games, platforms, apps and programs for Festival attendees to explore. Demos included a VR exercise app, Schell Games’ new physical chemistry game Happy Atoms, games by Parsons students and winners of the G4C Student Challenge, Brazilian developer Mukutu Games, Google Social Good, software creator Ready, and an HTC Vive VR experience by MIT Media Lab and Isobar.

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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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