Advisory Board Highlight: Alan's favorite games of 2010

As the new year approached, Games for Change reached out to its advisory board members to find out what games inspired them in 2010. In the first part of this series we reached out to Alan Gershenfeld. He’s the founder and President of E-Line Media, publishers of the game making platform Gamestar Mechanic. Here are his comments around two games that really impacted him in 2010. One game was a crowd favorite, as voted by our community, the other one is a commercial title that gained a lot of recognition that year for its unique approach. Alan comments,

“I played an alpha version of The Cat and the Coup about a year ago and often think about it. The decision to explore a resonant but largely forgotten moment in history (the 1953 US-engineered coup of Iran’s Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh), the choice of a unique but evocative player avatar conceit (you play Mossadegh’s cat), the reverse-narrative (starting with the death of Massadegh and working back to his election), the slow reveal of the players role in the coup as a metaphor for our complicity (U.S. citizens) and the truly inviting and lush Persian-themed visuals make the Cat and the Coup a clear pick for me. (more…)

Asi Burak's talk at TEDxGotham

On October 15th, 2010 at Cooper Union in New York City, Games for Change co-president, Asi Burak, spoke at the inaugural TEDxGotham event. The theme behind the event was “Collaborate, Experiment, Inspire” and included several New York thought leaders that are using new models to create communities, businesses and research for a better world. You can watch our 7 minute talk, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” in full below:

To see the rest of the talks from TEDxGotham, visit the TEDxGotham YouTube playlist here.

What are your 5 favorite social impact games of 2010?

Voting will end on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010. Vote on your 5 favorite games and we’ll tally the votes and present them to you next week.

This short list comprises your recommendations received via Twitter, the Games for Change Google Group and our Facebook fan page.

Now we want the Games for Change community to select their 5 favorite social impact games of 2010! Not familiar with any of these games? We encourage you to spend some time with them over the next few days with the links we’ve provided below. (more…)

Interview with Colleen Macklin, director of PETLab

PETLab is not your traditional type of lab. You won’t see any white coats or beakers with brightly colored liquids. What you will find is a handful of dedicated students and teachers, mostly from Parsons The New School of Design, researching game design and interactive media to create engaging learning experiences. Created in 2006 by Games for Change and the New School , PETLab came to life through a generous grant from The MacArthur Foundation.

The director of PETLab, Colleen Macklin, spoke with us about three creative approaches she’s used in creating game experiences that take the learning away from the screen and into the real world. (more…)

5 games that break into real life

Recently, a new genre of games (and “gamified” services) has emerged. Though the concept is not new, these new games stand at the core of what Games for Change is all about. Think about it – what if the numerous hours we spend playing online games did more than just score us points, get us achievements and level up our characters? What if tagging pictures could make artificial intelligence smarter or solving puzzle could help combat the world’s greatest diseases? Here are 5 games that are on the cutting edge of this movement. (more…)

The Microsoft Imagine Cup 2011 is almost here

Imagine Cup Winners

Can the imagination and creativity of a handful of students tackle some of the world’s biggest problems? Since 2003, The Microsoft Imagine Cup set out to prove to the world that the answer is yes! Starting with less than 1,000 entries in its first year, the competition recently boasted over 325,000 registered students in its 2010 competition.

Microsoft started this premier student technology competition to create a new way for students to make connections between people, information and world issues. The Imagine Cup finals have been held in such cities as São Paulo, Delhi, Barcelona, Paris and Cairo. The 2011 finale will be held in New York City in July of 2011. (more…)

Games for Change interviews the team behind Admongo


Technology is becoming cheaper and more ubiquitous every day. This trend allows young people to have more access to it but it also allows advertising agencies to have more access to them. Advertisers know that children from 8 – 12 years old largely influence the purchasing decision of their entire family and that makes them a lucrative target. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sees that as a concern, especially if there is not enough awareness all around. Recently, the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC partnered with the multimedia firm, Fleishman-Hillard, to create Admongo – an interactive learning campaign with a video game as its center piece.

I spoke with team members from both the FTC and Fleishman-Hillard about the importance of advertising education and the lessons they learned from making and publishing Admongo. (more…)

Fate of the World interview with Klaude Thomas

The aptly titled “Fate of the World” is an ambitious social impact game in which you are a world leader tasked with tackling the climate issues of the planet. The makers of the award winning “BBC Climate Challenge” have taken real statistical data that accurately predicts what the world could be like in the next 200 years based on the decisions of the player. Red Redemption Ltd.’s group of designers and programmers teamed up with professors, professional writers and composers to make a sequel that dramatically sets the stage for a true climate challenge.

I spent some time with Klaude Thomas, CEO of Red Redemption Ltd. and executive producer of Fate of the World to ask him a few questions about his company and the creation of Fate of The World.


Games for Change partners with the World Bank on game projects

World BankToday I’d like to take a moment to discuss one of the new services Games for Change has begun providing this year. Along with our continued involvement in the production of the Half The Sky transmedia project, we are advising a few other organizations that are committed to support or craft their own games for social impact. We are excited to help those making their first steps in this emerging space. Games for Change is confident that this new direction will not only assist the specific organizations working with us, but will push forward our sector by streamlining public RFPs (requests for proposals) for developers, allowing us to share knowledge and lessons learned, and hopefully establishing high-quality and detailed case studies.