News from the Games for Change Festival 2013

Games for Change awards the $35,000 prize for the Sex Etc. Game Design Competition to Kaho Abe and Ramsey Nasser for their game, Safe Sex With Friends.

The 10th Anniversary Games for Change Festival kicked off yesterday, and it has been an amazing one so far. Here are some highlights:

Sex Etc. Game Design Competition: Winners Announced!
Safe Sex With Friends took the $35,000 grand prize in our first-ever game design competition. Designers Kaho Abe (NYU Game Center), Ramsey Nasser, and Sarah Schoemann (NYU-Poly) will work with Answer, a progressive nonprofit with more than 30 years’ experience providing and promoting sexuality awareness to young people.

The three finalists included Safe Sex with FriendsSexEd Super Task Force, and Check/Mate. After hearing presentations from finalists, and careful deliberation, jurors Matt Parker, Lana Dakan, Lucinda Holt, and Naomi Clark, selected Safe Sex with Friends as the winning game.

Safe Sex With Friends is a social web and mobile game that uses a simple pick-up-and-play mechanic to teach teens and young adults the basics of when to use barrier protection for safer sex. By referencing the familiar game-style of tile-based word games such a Scrabble, Safe Sex with Friends teaches safer-sex methods in an approachable and engaging way that’s easy to learn but hard to master.

“We are really excited, and so grateful for this,” Kaho and Ramsey said after they were announced as the winning game designers. “We really wish that Sarah were here to accept this honor on stage with us.”

Half the Sky: The Game Impact Report Published
Learn about the metrics and partnerships behind Half the Sky: The Game, a large-scale Facebook game for change based on the award-winning book  “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide.” Since launching in March, the Half the Sky game has seen 851,000 players, who have triggered donations for 192,300 in books and $118,040 in life-changing surgeries. Donations total $342,316. Download the full report here.

Amplify Learning Games Revealed
Indie game developers working with Amplify unveiled their new games for learning at the Festival. Schell Games, Zachtronics, Preloaded, Highline Games, Ira Fay Games, Strange Loop and Bossa presented demos of their games, which are being piloted in schools across the country. The games are playable on the Amplify Tablet and iOS, and will be released in spring 2014. Read about the games on Amplify’s site.

Upper One Games: A New Company from CITC and E-Line Media
The Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) in Anchorage, Alaska, and E-Line Media launched Upper One Games  to develop a robust slate of commercial and educational games infused with Alaska Native culture, knowledge and values designed for relevancy in a global digital-gaming marketplace. More on the partnership available here.

Pipe Trouble Now on iPhone, Passes Independent Review
In the wake of a positive independent review, Pipe Trouble, a controversial web game about natural gas pipelines, is now available for the iPhone. Pipe Trouble’s controversy began in March, sparked by reports that the game allows players to blow up pipelines and advocates eco-terrorism. The controversy spread nationally and into highest levels of Canadian government, ultimately pressuring public broadcaster TVO to pull links to the game from their website and launch an independent review.

“Pipe Trouble does not support, glamourize or advocate violence in any way… Pipe Trouble is not a game about blowing up pipelines,” the report states. “It is a game about building pipelines. To succeed, players must pit their spatial ability and speed against economics, regulations, efficiency, the environment and yes, sabotage. The game is designed to make you think, and it does.”

Since the independent review began there has been a second wave of corrective coverage, often raising questions of game literacy and outdated assumptions surrounding the video game medium, Pop Sandbox wrote in a press release.

One Comment

Games for Change

Don't think Zynga does either. 🙂 Safe Sex With Friend's designers mentioned on stage at the Festival that the name of the game will likely change.


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