Facebook Game “Half the Sky” Sneak Peaks at 9th Annual G4C Festival Now Underway, Zynga.org to Loan Employee Talent to “Half the Sky” Production Team
New York, NY (June 19, 2012) – Games for Change (G4C), the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social good, has welcomed four new members to its board of directors – Caryn Effron, Jane McGonigal, Brooks Tanner and Ava Zydor – it was announced today by Asi Burak and Michelle Byrd, Co-Presidents of Games for Change. New board member McGonigal will also bring her more than 20,000-member social network of game creators Gameful.org, which now will be hosted and administered through Games for Change.
“This is definitely a ‘superpowers combine!’ moment for us,” says Jane McGonigal. “Games for Change has created such a powerful platform for producing, curating and supporting games that can change the world. And Gameful is the biggest social network for gamers and game developers who want to play, or help make, world-changing games. Together, we’re going to be able to set even more epic goals and get extraordinary games made and played by so many more people!”
Social games company Zynga has agreed to contribute significant employee time to the production team working on Half the Sky, a Facebook social action game to debut on November 13. The game, being developed by Frima Studio, is based on the bestselling book by Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and is part of an ambitious transmedia project which includes a two-part, four hour series for PBS airing on October 1st and 2nd, three mobile games for distribution in India and Africa, multiple hours of additional web video and additional content, and coordinated outreach and capacity building for over 30 NGO partners. Games for Change serves as an executive producer of the game, along with Maro Chermayeff of Show of Force, the award winning production company producing the PBS broadcast series for Half the Sky. A sneak-peak of Half the Sky will be presented to attendees of the ninth annual Games for Change Festival, currently taking place in New York (June 18-20).
“Zynga.org’s mission is to help make the world a better place through games and we are excited by the prospect that social games represent a new medium for inspiring collective social good on a massive scale,” said Ken Weber, executive director, Zynga.org. “Helping others is so embedded in social games that engaging players to help address real-world issues seems like a natural extension of game play. Zynga’s employees are eager to leverage social games for good and we are honored to be collaborating with Games for Change and Frima on this important initiative.”
New incoming G4C board members include:
- Caryn Effron – A senior managing director with Ackman Ziff Real Estate, Effron is founder of GoGirl Finance, an online community fostering financial literacy skills for women, and a board member of Say Yes to Education, a nonprofit foundation focused on increasing high school and college graduation rates for inner-city youth.
- Jane McGonigal – A world-renowned designer of alternate reality games focused on improving real lives and solving real issues, McGonigal is the New York Times best-selling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Her speech at TED 2010 attracted over three million online views.
- Brooks Tanner – An investment banker with two decades of experience at such firms as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank/Bankers Trust, Citibank and Drexel Burnham Lambert, Tanner also serves as chief financial officer for two early-stage technology companies and a private equity-backed manufacturing business in San Francisco and Seattle.
- Ava Zydor – An international trade and corporate finance attorney, currently serving as president of the media content and communications company Seventh Reach Media, Zydor is passionate about the science of innovation and the arts and has held numerous leadership positions as a volunteer with arts and education organizations.
Gameful (www.gameful.org) was founded in 2010 by Jane McGonigal, Nathan Verrill, Mathew Jensen and Kiyash Monsef as an online “Secret HQ” for gamers and game developers who want to help change the world and make real lives better. Envisioned as a cross between a professional network and a creative brainstorming space, the site has built a community of over 20,000 members since its launch.
About Half the Sky
Half the Sky, the bestselling 2009 book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, sparked a global movement to address what they dubbed “the central moral challenge of our time” – ending the oppression of women and girls worldwide. An ambitious multimillion-dollar transmedia project is currently underway to raise awareness and promote real-world action. Projects in the pipeline include a primetime, four-hour miniseries to air on PBS on October 1-2, a Facebook social action game to debut November 13, mobile games, websites, educational materials and more. The Facebook game has major support from the Ford Foundation along with support from the UN Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit www.halftheskymovement.org.
About Frima Studio
Frima is Canada’s leading independent game developer. Since 2003, the company has been developing world-class media including virtual worlds, social and web based games, console titles and mobile apps. Their services also include the animation and special effects expertise of Frima FX as well as the concept art development of Volta. In addition to working with world-renowned clients, Frima develops successful, original IP titles such as A Space Shooter for Free! and Zombie Tycoon. With over 350 artists and programmers to develop its products, Frima produces high-caliber products that are as remarkably outstanding artistically as they are technically.
About Games for Change
Games for Change (G4C) is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact. Founded in 2004, G4C facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. The organization aims to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good. To further grow the field, G4C convenes multiple stakeholders, highlights best practices, incubates games, and helps create and direct investment into new projects. Visit www.gamesforchange.org
Games for Change is currently hosting the 9th annual Games for Change Festival (June 18-20), taking place at NYU Skirball Center. The festival is the largest games gathering in New York City and the leading global event focused on leveraging entertainment and engagement for social good. Each year the festival brings the digital games industry and gaming enthusiasts together with a broader community of educators, policymakers, activists, foundations and others. Open to the public, the festival includes a Game Arcade where award-nominated games can be played, along with speakers, panels, workshops and other activities. The festival culminates with the annual Games for Change Awards. For a complete itinerary and to watch it streamed live: http://new.livestream.com/g4c
Major support of the 9th Annual Games for Change Festival is provided by the AMD Foundation, the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Microsoft, and ESI Design.