2012 Games for Change Awards Nominees Announced

The End, Unmanned and WAY Lead with Multiple Nominations

We’re excited to announce the nominees for the Games for Change Awards. These juried awards recognize the best attributes of social impact games and are presented in four competitive categories: Most Significant Impact, Most Innovative Game, Best Gameplay and Knight News Game. All nominees are also up for Game of the Year, the über award recognizing overall excellence. You’ll find out who wins at Games for Change Festival’s Closing Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, June 20.

Award Nominee: WAY

“We’re seeing a new wave of games with even broader perspectives on social engagement and impact. Both the quantity and quality of this year’s submissions signal the growth of this sector in the gaming industry,” said Games for Change Co-Presidents Michelle Byrd and Asi Burak.

This year saw the submission of 67 games, from which eight top titles were culled and three nominees named in each of the four categories. Nominees were chosen by a panel of 35 experts across the gaming industry, media, education and philanthropy, among other areas. (See below for all Nominating Panelists.)

The 2012 Games for Change Award nominees include:

Most Significant Impact (games targeted at a specific social issue, with proven actions and outcomes): The End, Family of Heroes, SPENT

Most Innovative Game (excelling in creativity and aspiring to bring new ideas into “games for change,” whether through unique game design, technology or audiences): Unmanned, WAY, Zamzee

Best Gameplay (highly compelling and engaging gameplay, game mechanics aligned with and reinforcing social issue goals): The End, Unmanned, WAY

Knight News Game (supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to recognize games that feature current events, documentary subject matter or infographic news data, or that exist as a news platform to engage individuals and communities): Fibber – A Game About Political Deception, Nanu Planet, Unmanned

Award Nominee: The End

We encourage you to play this year’s Nominees – now or during this year’s Games for Change Festival. All will be featured in the Games for Change Awards Arcade.

To register for the Festival: https://gamesforchange.org/festival2012/attend

The End: A game of self-discovery that integrates strategy, puzzles and questions into a world which explores a range of commonly, or less commonly, held views about death.  Developer:  Preloaded, funded by Channel 4 Education (http://playtheend.com).

Family of Heroes: A role-playing training game where families of returning veterans learn skills to manage common challenges in adjusting to post-deployment life including how to connect a veteran experiencing PTSD with support services at the VA.  Developer: Kognito Interactive, funded by Kognito and Veterans Affairs of NY/NJ (www.familyofheroes.com).

Fibber – A Game About Political Deception: Players engage in a “political strip guessing game” where they are asked to determine whether things said by Obama or Romney are fact or fib, and share their findings.  Developer: Seekchange.org (Updated link: www.gamesforchange.org/play/fibber/).

Nanu Planet: The story of two space explorers who get separated on a planet split in two that serves as an allegory for Korea’s DMZ, de-militarized zone. (“Nanu” is Korean for “divided”).  Developer: JCE, funded by Gyeonggi-do, Gyeonggi Digital Contents Agency, Samsung, JCE (www.greengrim.org/intro2.jce?request_locale=en).

SPENT: Challenges players to make it through a month with little money and tough decisions.  Developer: McKinney, funded by Urban Ministries of Durham and McKinney (http://playspent.org).

Unmanned: Play the newest kind of soldier: one who remotely drops bombs on foreign soil during the day, and at night goes home to his family.  Developer: Molleindustria + No Media Kings (www.unmanned.molleindustria.org).

WAY: A two-player, online collaborative game in which anonymous strangers around the world learn to communicate through puppetry.  Developer: CoCo & Co. (www.makeourway.com).

Zamzee: An online rewards platform powered by physical activity. Developer: Zamzee, funded by HopeLab and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (www.zamzee.com).

Award Nominee: Unmanned

Nominees will also be featured as part of the CultureStream public programming at New York City’s World Financial Center’s Winter Garden on Wednesday, June 6.  Clips from the nominated games will be shown along with a live gameplay session in the evening.

…And last, but certainly not least… a BIG THANK YOU to all of our 2012 Nominating Panelists who played and discussed (at length!) all of this year’s submissions.

Michael Agustin, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Game Salad; Kellian Adams, Founder and CEO, Green Door Labs; Stephanie Barish, Founder and CEO, IndieCade; Jason Beene, Art Director, Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab; Donald Brinkman, Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research; Jamin Brophy-Warren, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Kill Screen; Claudine Brown, Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian; Eric Brown, CVO and COO, Impact Games, Hybrid Learning Systems; Marc Check, Director of Information and Interactive Technologies, Museum of Science; Dr. James Diamond, Researcher, Center for Children and Technology; Aaron Dignan, Founding Partner and CEO, Undercurrent; Dr. Jon-Paul Dyson, Director, International Center for the History of Electronic Games and VP Exhibits, The Strong; Dr. Mary Flanagan, Founder, Tiltfactor; Dr. Gonzalo Frasca, Creator and Co-Founder, Powerful Robot Games; Emily Goligoski, Journalist and Writer, The San Franista; Catherine Herdlick, Senior Game Producer at Sifteo and Co-Founder, Come Out and Play; Dr. David Kanter, Director of SciPlay, New York Hall of Science; Rita King, EVP of Business Development, Science House; Suzanne Kirkpatrick, Creator and Lead Game Designer, Commons; Matt Locke, Founder, Storythings; Kati London, Executive Producer, Zynga; Konstantin Mitgutsch, Postdoctoral Researcher, Singapore-MIT Gambit Game Lab; Caroline Murphy, Director of Operations, Brass Monkey Inc.; Kirk Owen, Program Director, Nethope Global Broadband and Innovation Alliance; Nora Paul, Director of Institute for New Media Studies, University of Minnesota; Scott Price, Product Manager – VP, Gamestar Mechanic, E-Line Ventures; Ian Roberts, Creative Director, Red Redemption Ltd.; Jason Rzepka, VP of Public Affairs, MTV Networks; Rafi Santo, Graduate Research Assistant/Doctoral Student, Indiana University Learning Sciences Program; Pamela Statz, Interactive Producer, Wired.com; Brendon Trombley, Game Designer, Institute of Play; Dr. Jo Twist, CEO, The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE); Nina Walia, Experience Producer, Nike; Chloe Varelidi, Game Designer, Mozilla Foundation; Christopher Wisniewski, Director of Education, Museum of the Moving Image

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.


Brett A McCall

I am working on a similar project and this is a sweet use of game mechanics to make politics fun, interesting and quick.

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