G4C Festival: Early-bird savings end TODAY // Games & Media Summit info

20% Discount Ends Tonight

Our early-bird deadline, February 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET, is mere hours away.

Register now and save big: up to $100.
Games and Media Summit:
At the All-New Tribeca Creative Hub

Through keynotes, panels, workshops, and screenings, this daylong summit will explore new and innovative platforms, including interactive documentaries, transmedia campaigns, films that play like games, and games that incorporate film, all to inspire social progress.

Join us at the Tribeca Film Festival’s new Creative Hub at Spring Studios.

  • Opening Keynote: Nick Fortugno, Playmatics. Game designer Nick Fortugno, who has worked extensively on projects with both filmmakers and game makers, highlights the tremendous potential of the crossover territory between games and linear media for social good and outlines what the ecosystem is and can be.
  • Case Study: Cross-Platform Integration to Scale. Learn firsthand how The Spiral, a massive international production, drew 140,000 visitors to its online game, drove thousands of players to museums to find clues, and built a live-action role play (LARP) into the very fabric of a TV art heist drama. Speakers: Cecilia Dolk, Martin Ericsson, Bjarke Pedersen.
  • Funders Panel: Adjusting to a Moving Target. A session with leading public media funders to discuss the goals, considerations, and potential of this evolving space.
  • Panel: Speaking Each Other’s Language. Lessons learned and insights from collaborations between filmmakers and game creators. Speakers from: Minority Media (Papo & Yo, Spirits of Spring), the National Film Board of Canada, and Concordia University.
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G4C Festival: Learning Games Lineup // Early-bird discount ends tomorrow

G4C15_learning games lineup_banner_blog

Learning games are always a cornerstone of the G4C Festival, and this year, we’re proud to present related programming and talks from leaders in the sector.

Angry Birds Transforming Education
Hear from the team behind Rovio Fun Learning and Angry Birds Playground, which aim to transform education through deep research, play-based education, and legions of Angry Birds players worldwide. With partners such as NASA, CERN, and the National Geographic Society, Angry Birds maker Rovio aims inspire children and feed their curiosity with wonders and challenges of the world. Speakers: Peter Vesterbacka, Sanna Lukander, and Lauri Jarvilehto.

Social-Emotional Learning Games:
Why they’re our future

Leading social-emotional learning (SEL) game developers share the most broadly scaled, effective, and innovative games. Come away with a thorough knowledge of how SEL games bolster achievement on the Common Core and 21st-century skills, what’s next for research in this fast-emerging field, and what strategies can be taken for scaling these games in K-12 and informal learning environments nationally.

Scientific Exploration with NOVA Labs:
Real science, real data, and you

See how NOVA’s latest production, Evolution Lab, tackles the big ideas and misconceptions about evolution and attempts to counter the efforts being made in some states to remove the teaching of evolution in science classrooms by working with their outreach partners. This talk also takes a broader look at collaboration among scientists, game developers, and content producers in creating the NOVA Labs platform.

From Concept to Market:
Building games for schools

Filament’s PLEx Science suite of games is one of the few major commercialization efforts in the games-based learning space. Hear about the entire life cycle of a contemporary learning game – from development to research to launch – and about the philosophies and practices of the largest dedicated learning games developer in the U.S.

A Federal Perspective on Social-Emotional Learning in Game Development

Most learning games focus on teaching educational standards, but games can also help players build empathy and challenge stereotypes. Russell Shilling, the executive director of STEM at the U.S. Department of Education, will discuss government-funded game-based learning efforts, as well as current research into SEL games, why these games are important, and how federal agencies are addressing critical issues of emotional intelligence.


That’s not all. Also watch for…

  • Networking: Sign up for one-on-one meetings with learning games leaders at Meet the Experts.
  • Senate Immersion Module: Play a live simulation of the U.S. Senate with 99 other attendees, in a game originally designed for students and visitors at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
  • Town Hall: Bring your burning questions to learning games developers at a lively moderated session, followed by a Q&A.
  • Games: Our arcades will highlight examples of the most innovative learning games, both physical and digital.



Early-Bird Deadline is Tomorrow:
Save $100 on Festival passes

The best prices on Festival passes end on Friday, February 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Get 20% off by picking up yours today.

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G4C Festival: Indie Super Discount, Playcrafting Demo Night


Indie Super Discount

Based on your feedback, we’re offering deeply discounted G4C Festival tickets to independent game makers, who work alone or in small teams and are eager to come to the Festival in April. Limited tickets are available by application to make registration highly affordable for indies who could not otherwise attend the event.

Answer a few questions here, and once we review your application, we’ll send you a discount code that can save you hundreds of dollars!


Demo Night: Made-in-NY games for change

In New York on Thursday night? Hear the stories behind seven games for change from top local developers at our Demo and Play Night, co-hosted with Playcrafting NYC at Microsoft’s offices. We’ll have these games on-site for attendees to play and plenty of pizza for all (courtesy of SuperMighty).

Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa) E-Line Media
Never Alone is the first game developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people. Switching between an Iñupiaq girl named Nuna and her arctic fox companion, the player completes puzzles throughout a story based on Alaskan folklore.

Mission US: City of Immigrants THIRTEEN/WNET, Electric Funstuff
The Mission US series of free online games aims to increase young players’ understanding of U.S. history. City of Immigrants follows Lena Brodsky, a young Jewish immigrant to New York City in 1907, who works long hours in a factory for little money.

Slam City Oracles Jane Friedhoff & Jenny Jiao Hsia
Slam City Oracles is inspired by the painful messaging that young girls and women receive about their bodies: the constant pressure to be smaller and quieter. It presents a fantastic space where women are invincible, powerful, and free.

Choosing My Way Dozen Eyes
Supplementing educational programs for immigrants and refugees resettling within the U.S., Choosing My Way presents scenarios from the resettlement experience. The game uses Euro-style board game mechanics to avoid binary win/lose scenarios.

Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy GlassLab
Aligned to the Common Core State Standards, Mars Generation One: Argubot Academy brings STEM content into the English language arts classroom and helps middle schoolers develop persuasion and reasoning skills.

MasterSwords Asymmetric Games, published by Amplify
Words are your weapons in MasterSwords. Explore whimsical environments and battle unsavory creatures on your journey, using only your words to defend you.

Twelve a Dozen Bossa Studios, published by Amplify
From the makers of Surgeon Simulator. Twelve, the game’s heroine, is on a mission: to find her family members who disappeared after a cataclysmic event. With her companion, Dot, she solves math-based puzzles to rescue her loved ones. 


Get Your Passes: 20% Discount Expires on Feb. 20!

We’re in our final days of early-bird registration. Save $100 and more by reserving your spot at the G4C Festival today.


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The latest from our speakers & two weeks left for early-bird pricing

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Since announcing our line-up for the Festival, we’d like to share more about our speakers and their exciting work. Here’s an update on what they’ll be bringing to the Festival audience on April 21-23.

A Path Appears
With decades of experience in shining light on global and domestic challenges, affecting change, and analyzing effective solutions, Pulitzer-winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn will share at the Festival their latest work and thoughts around games and new media for social impact. Following the session, they will sign copies of their most recent nonfiction book, A Path Appears. If you missed it, their book’s companion TV series, which follows their reporting on human rights violations in the U.S. and other countries, is airing now on PBS and online. Tune in to the third and final episode on Monday at 10 p.m. EST.

Promoting games for change
from around the world

Rami Ismail, head of business and development at game studio Vlambeer, is one of the most appreciated indie developers working today. He speaks frankly about the issues facing the games industry at large and helps create tools for other indies to use to promote their work. At the Festival, Rami will examine how to increase awareness and access to game-making in underserved international communities, and in addition to speaking, will showcase games from hard-to-access areas around the world.

From games to film and back

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) has proven time and again that he knows how to make impact on screens big and small. At the Festival, he’ll connect his in-depth investigations in film to his first and continuing love for video games. Until then, check out his latest project, the TV series Inside Man, which takes on important topics through insider investigations. Season three is now airing on CNN, and seasons one and two are available on Netflix.

How VR will change games

Oculus Rift’s Chief Scientist Michael Abrash, a groundbreaking programmer, will share his vision of virtual reality as the platform for the future and the implications for games for change. Previously, he worked with John Carmack to pioneer 3D graphics for Quake and subsequently led Valve’s pioneering work on virtual reality. Today, he is building the team at Oculus that will keep pushing the technology forward and turn VR into a consumer-friendly experience.

Cultural liberation through game design

Meg Jayanth, writer of mobile game 80 Days, and Amy Fredeen, a leader on Never Alone‘s development as CFO at E-Line Media and EVP of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, will speak to Barry Joseph from the American Museum of Natural History about amplifying the voices and stories of indigenous and marginalized peoples through games. Hear how two of the top games of 2014 not only provided remarkably engaging experiences but also inspired empathy for and piqued game players’ interest in under-represented cultures.


Ending soon: Save up to $100 on Festival passes

The best prices on Festival passes end on February 20. Get 20% off by picking up yours today.

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2015 Festival Speaker Line-Up: Spurlock, Kristof, WuDunn, Abrash, Rovio & more!

2015 G4C Festival speakers
From the most successful mobile games to cutting-edge virtual reality projects, this year brings the best G4C line-up yet. Read more about our keynote speakers here, and join us in person April 21-23!


Beyond Games

  • Nicholas Kristof, NY Times columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of A Path Appears
  • Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of A Path Appears
  • Morgan Spurlock, Acclaimed Filmmaker, Super Size Me
  • Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist, Oculus VR


Game Makers

  • Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio Fun Learning, Angry Birds
  • Rami Ismail, Vlambeer, Ridiculous Fishing
  • Meg Jayanth, Writer, 80 Days (Time Magazine’s Game of the Year)
  • Jesse Schell, CEO, Schell Games
  • Frank Lantz, Director, NYU Game Center
  • Eric Zimmerman, Game Designer, faculty at NYU
  • Colleen Macklin, Game Designer, Parsons the New School for Design
  • Naomi Clark, Game Designer, Brooklyn Game Ensemble
  • Adriaan De Jongh, Game Designer, Bounden
  • Cecilia Dolk, Martin Ericsson, Bjarke Pedersen, Nordic LARP creators, Odyssé


Less than one month left to save on passes

Get 20% off all passes by February 20. New in 2015, we’re offering two free tickets to a select Tribeca Film Festival screening for All Access passes!

Register Now

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Show your game to 275,000 people at our Public Arcade!

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Show your game on the streets of New York City to an audience of 275,000 people at the Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair!

We’re bringing our daylong G4C Public Arcade (April 25) back to the city’s biggest family street fair — this year with improved pricing and shared tent opportunities!

In its first year, the G4C Public Arcade hosted more than 10 game companies sharing digital and live-action games for attendees to play, along with attractions like 3D printing, bicycle spin art, making low-fi games in under a minute, and more. We showcased family-friendly games alongside other Tribeca Family Festival exhibitors like Disney, ESPN, and Cartoon Network. See pictures and details from the 2014 G4C Public Arcade here.

Prices vary by tent size and the addition of optional equipment, with individual booths starting at $7,500 and shared booths at $2,000. Each participant receives:

  • One 9′-tall high-peaked Tentnology tent (individual or shared)
  • 6′ tables and folding chairs
  • 18” x 24” sign for branding
  • 20-amp power service
  • Optional: Interior decor, tech equipment rental (laptops, tablets, screens, etc.), Wi-Fi

Other benefits include:

  • Passes to the G4C Festival at NYU Skirball (April 22-23)
  • International, national, and local media impressions
  • Logo visibility on G4C Festival collateral and Tribeca Family Festival website and map
  • Inclusion in G4C press releases
  • Full access to post-event photos and videos

Space at the arcade is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. To get started, please email our VP of partnerships Susanna Pollack for more information.

All games presented are subject to approval by Games for Change.


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G4C Festival: Registration opens with 20% off all passes


Passes for our 2015 G4C Festival, hosted again with the Tribeca Film Festival, are now available, with our best early-bird prices. Save 20% by registering today.

  • April 21: Games and Media Summit
  • April 22-23: G4C conference with great talks, games, and networking at and around NYU Skirball Center
  • April 25: Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Street Fair in Lower Manhattan

Register Now
We’ll share more details on our boldest and most exciting lineup of speakers yet over the next few weeks. For now, here are some of the newest additions:

  • Two free tickets to a select Tribeca Film Festival screening: When you register for any G4C Festival All Access Pass! We’ll have more surprises coming from Tribeca soon.
  • Games and Media Summit: Interactive experiences meet linear media. Delve into the crossover territory of games, film, and everything in between, and explore how these innovative new forms of interactive storytelling can address social and political issues.
  • Board Game Night with Babycastles: Put away digital devices and roll out the dice! Our friends at Babycastles are putting together a night of social impact board games.
  • Senate Game: No gridlock here! Join 99 players in a live simulation of the U.S. Senate. The game, launching in Boston in March, was commissioned by the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate and created by Gigantic Mechanic and ESI Design.

Old favorites will be returning, too:

  • Well Played: This compelling series features game experts demonstrating and analyzing a game live in front of attendees. Previous Well Played sessions, hosted by Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, examined Gone Home and Papers, Please.
  • Live games from Come Out & Play: The organizers of the annual Come Out & Play Festival of street games will bring a diverse set of fun, frenetic physical games for change. 
  • Learning games content from Cooney Center: As one of the leaders behind the Games and Learning Publishing Council and the National STEM Video Game Challenge, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shares their expertise on games for learning for the third year running.
  • G4C Public Arcade: Stick around through the weekend and invite your friends to experience the G4C Public Arcade at the Tribeca Family Street Fair, a free day of great games for change filling a full city block in Lower Manhattan.

Keep an eye on our Festival website for updates!

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Holiday Updates: AmazonSmile,
Indie Arcade & 4 game promotion tips


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.

Donations are only made for purchases on AmazonSmile (http://smile.amazon.com) and not on Amazon.com. Games for Change is on AmazonSmile year-round, so keep this link handy for future shopping, too. Thanks so much for your support!



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

Catch up with a quick video from iCivics and the American Art Museum’s recap of the experience.

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.

Here are four key takeaways that you can start implementing now to promote your game. For more, read the Twitter feed or watch the entire panel on YouTube.

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 “. Try researching each outlet and what kinds of games they cover. Once you’ve identified which publications are most likely to cover your style of game, send each of them a tailored pitch. This legwork will take more time but payoff tenfold in comparison to impersonal mass mailings.

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!

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In NYC? Join us & Playcrafting for a discussion with top game journalists


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!

Brian Crecente / Founding Editor, Polygon

Brian Crecente is a founding editor and the news editor for Polygon. He also writes Good Game, a weekly internationally syndicated column. The former editor in chief of Kotaku, Brian was educated at the University of Maryland, College Park. He covered crime and public safety for newspapers in Texas, Florida, and Colorado for 12 years before starting his career as a video game journalist.

Evan Narcisse / Reporter, Kotaku

Evan Narcisse is a reporter for Gawker Media, where he writes about video games and pop culture for Kotaku. Prior to his work at Kotaku, Evan wrote about video games, comic books, and pop culture for Essence, AOL, the Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, and Crispy Gamer.

Chelsea Stark / Games Reporter, Mashable

Chelsea Stark is Mashable’s games reporter, covering everything from AAA titles, indie gems, and all the culture in between. Originally hailing from Austin, Chelsea moved to New York four years ago to pursue her master’s in journalism from NYU and ended up at Mashable along the way. She wears many hats at Mashable, penning reviews, news, features, and creating videos.

Jamin Warren / Co-Founder, Kill Screen

Jamin Warren founded video game arts and culture company Kill Screen. Formerly a culture reporter for the Wall Street Journal, he serves as an advisor to MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. Jamin also hosts Game/Show for PBS. His thoughts on games and digital culture have been featured in NPR, the New Yorker, New York Times, Paris Review, and others. He’s also spoken at SXSW, the NY Film Festival, and XOXO.



Don’t forget!
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 festival@gamesforchange.org.

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Submit Games, Talks, & Pitches to the
2015 G4C Festival (Deadline 12/15)

[ 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

A core value for G4C inside and outside of games, diversity is particularly on our minds due to recent game industry developments. We invite submissions that engage all genders, cultures, races, socio-economic status, and backgrounds. Projects that directly foster diversity will receive special attention as we feel that it’s critical to showcase innovation that challenges the status quo.



Topics include game design for impact, financing, distribution, new technologies and platforms, and diversity and inclusivity. Presentations, discussions, demos, and provocative rants are all welcome!


Expert jurors from games, social impact, and media will select finalists to be showcased at the Festival and presented at the annual ceremony. If you have launched or will launch a game for change between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, then go for it!


We'll select the most compelling in-development games for our on-stage pitch session, hosted by game designer and NYU professor Eric Zimmerman. Place your next great project right in front of top funders and the audience to receive exposure and meaningful feedback.

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