Often referred to as “the Sundance of Video Games”, the Games for Change Annual Festival is the biggest gaming event in New York City, attracting over 800 participants every year. It brings together leaders from government, corporations, civil society, media, academia, and the gaming industry to explore the increasing real-world impact of digital games as an agent for social change. The Festival is also a showcase for some of the most innovative new games in production.
Highlights include Vice President Al Gore opening the 8th Annual Festival in 2011 and Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, closing the first day of the 2012 Festival. Headlining the 2010 Festival were Honorable Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.
In 2013, Games for Change entered into a partnership with the Global Game Jam, the annual event which brings together talented individuals and teams from around the globe to create their game in 48 hours. For the first time, we established G4C sites, where participants created innovative games for social impact. G4C sites ran in multiple cities such as New York, Cambridge (MA), Fairfax (VA), Portland (OR), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Warsaw (Poland), Cologne (Germany), Toronto (Canada) and São Paulo (Brazil).
Games for Change curates dozens of digital and non-digital games that engage contemporary social issues in a meaningful way. These games have been created by cross-disciplinary teams from around the world. If you enjoy these games, please share them with your friends, family and community.
As part of our efforts to bring games for social impact into public spaces, we partnered with the American Museum of Natural History. The Mead Arcade, running during the Margaret Mead Film Festival, was an interactive exhibition of games around the Festival’s theme “Whose Story is It?”. The games were available to play at stations in the Grand Gallery during the course of the festival.
Half the Sky is a transmedia project based upon the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The project aims to highlight the moral challenge of oppression of women around the world, and equally to present the opportunities women offer to promote economic development and combat fundamentalism – to “hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying. Games for Change is working with several partners to develop the initiative’s game projects: a global Facebook game and mobile games in India and Africa. Funders of the Half the Sky transmedia project include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting(CPB), USAID, the Ford Foundation, UN Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Foundation.
Games for Change offers a suite of services to guide organizations and people who are actively pursuing computer and video games to further their public, philanthropic, or academic mission. Clients include organizations such as USAID, the World Bank Institute, the American Museum of Natural History, and CURE International. The services seek to lift up the field of social impact games and can range from the modest to the comprehensive via the following packages:
1. A concept workshop to plan and scope game related projects
2. Taking a project from concept through vendor selection
3. The full-range of services, from concept to launch and beyond.
Learn more at the Games for Change Lab.
The growing international influence of “games for change” movement is evidenced by the emergence of licensed chapters in different regions of the world.
Our first international chapter, formed in 2007, hails from South Korea and is led by Suzanna Samstag Oh. Annually, Games for Change Korea produces three major events: the “Korea Serious Games Festival”, the “Spring and Fall Academic Conference of the Korea Game Society”, and an annual game making camp for youth. Their efforts have helped create a version of iCivics in collaboration with the Korean Ministry of Justice, and a PeaceMaker inspired award-winning game called “Nanu Planet” to discuss the difficult history of the demiliarized zone. They also participated in the creation of a “Games in Education” certification for teachers using games for change in the classroom.
Our Latin America chapter is based in São Paulo Brazil and led by Gilson Schwartz. Along with the Annual Latin America Games for Change Festival, the chapter is an active participant in the SBGames festival, LIGACÃO (an arts festival for children and teens), and a curation residency at the Museum of Image and Sound. With a desire to connect educators, policy makers, and the local game making community, Games for Change Latin America is closing the gap between these parties so they can create powerful games that focus on education and innovation.
Games for Change Europe
Established in June of 2012, Games for Change Europe is one of our newest chapters, led by Jean-Michel Blottière from Paris, France. As the chapter is making preparations for their own annual festival, their primary focus is utilizing the power of games to promote research and development. Working closely with several univesities, game development studios, academics, and independent developers across France and Germany, we’re excited to see what Europe has to offer in the coming months.
Established in 2012, the Games for Change Australia / New Zealand chapter is centered in Melbourne, Australia. The chapter kicked off its activities with their first annual Festival in November. Uniting games researchers, those invested in improving the city of Melbourne, and a host of curators and game makers, the event drew an international audience and was one of the most playful international Games for Change Festivals to date. This unique chapter is strengthen by its affiliation with Melbourne’s RMIT University and their design hub, the GEE Lab.
We manage a high-quality online discussion group focused on supporting and making social impact games (over 1,600 active participants). Click here to join our Google Group and learn more ways to stay connected with Games for Change!
To view an archive of past announcements or past newsletters, click here.