Announcing The Games for Change Fellowship with Tribeca Film Institute



Games for Change has been hearing quite a bit from independent filmmakers looking for assistance in making games as complements to their films, particularly documentary filmmakers. With her background in independent film, Co-President Michelle Byrd is looking at ways to establish institutional collaborations that enable Games for Change to lend its expertise and methodology around creating and publishing effective social impact games to content creators who are new to the space. We’re very excited to announce our first such collaboration with the Tribeca Film Institute, and their Tribeca All Access program.

Tribeca All Access (TAA) is held during the Tribeca Film Festival and serves as a forum to connect established and emerging filmmakers from diverse backgrounds with access to industry professionals to help make their next projects. Since 2004, the program has facilitated 210 film projects with 3,355 industry meetings, no small feat! The program combines access to mentorships, cash grants and beginning in 2011, the ability for its alumni to expand their knowledge around developing multi-platform projects.

We’re pleased to partner with the TAA program with “The Games for Change Fellowship” for the program’s alumni.

Among the many new grants, fellowships and professional development programs that the TAA program is offering, our Fellowship will provide a filmmaker with strategic services to help determine how the development of a game will best fit into their filmmaking process. In addition to having a brainstorming session with Games for Change Co-President, Asi Burak, the recipient will also get a formal introduction to a Games for Change Advisory Board member. (You can find a full list of our Advisory Board here: The Fellowship recipient will also gain a complimentary accreditation to the 8th Annual Games for Change Festival in June 2011. ( And finally as part of the TAA program, we will hold a workshop open to all participants and alumni on developing social impact games.

As more filmmakers begin considering transmedia as a way to diversify their audiences and amplify their reach, we hope that there will be other opportunities for us to offer The Games for Change Fellowship in collaboration with other institutional partners.  Our goal is to empower those interested in the use of games with the knowledge of learning how and where to begin, but also some of the questions to think through to ensure a project’s success.


Last call for The Knight News Challenge



There are two weeks left in the 5th Annual Knight News Challenge. The media innovation contest awards a total of $5 million each year to digital solutions that advance the sharing of news and the engagement of communities. To date, the Knight News Challenge has awarded over $23 million to 56 innovators, chosen from over 10,000 entries.

Interview with Radwan Kasmiya of Afkar Media



While other forms of media regularly discuss the Middle East, whenever it shows up in video games, there’s often controversy. From the new Medal of Honor game to big name companies dropping titles like Six Days in Fallujah. However, there is one man in the Middle East, who wants to create games that properly represent “the other side”. In our hour long phone call, I spoke with Radwan Kasmiya, a Syrian and Palestinian, about his games “Under Ash” and “Under Siege”. During the conversation who also talked about the perception of the Middle East in the digital world and how 9/11 affected his work. In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, very few independent game developers existed in the Middle East. Radwan Kasmiya took a look around and decided he needed to create a something that was more than just an action game where his people were “moving targets”. He wanted to tell his version of what’s going on in the Middle East. He wanted to paint a picture of his people and what their reality was like. At the time Kasmiya was working with a multimedia company called Dar al-Fikr, which mostly published books. He approached them with an idea that eventually would become the game ‘Under Ash’. They misunderstood Kasmiya’s proposal and thought he simply wanted to make a multimedia CD. Regardless, they liked the idea and the project was under way. Yet, Kasmiya had no one to help him start development. So he had to hand pick a team people who had skills that could be translated into what was needed to create a game. After some training and a few months later, his team of multicultural artists and programmers completed ‘Under Ash’ in 2001.

'People Power' interview with Steve York



If the name Steve York rings a bell, it’s probably because you know his previous transmedia project, A Force More Powerful. The documentary, book and more importantly, the game are regarded as pioneering work in the social impact world. His company, York Zimmerman Inc. just released their new game to promote non-violent resistance, People Power. Steve spent some time with me to answer a few questions and we’re happy to share his responses with our community:

Gameful: A Secret Headquarters for Worldchangers


A not so secret secret has been afoot.  Gameful is a “Secret Headquarters” for people playing and creating games to make us better and change the world.  Its fundraising call on Kickstarter attracted 593 backers and raised $64,965 (well beyond its $2,000 goal). Since Jane McGonigal’s TED talk in February, anticipation for the idea has grown.  In her talk she asks, given the 3 billion hours a week our world spends playing digital games, how can we tap into that incredible amount of engaged time to change our lives and perhaps save the world?  The overwhelming number of emails Jane received after her talk spurred the creation (with co-founders Nathan Verrill, Matthew Jensen, and Kiyash Monsef) of Gameful.  The website is a collaboration space to connect people who are passionate about world-changing games and are looking for collaborators for ideas, advice, playtesting, funding, mentorship and partnership.  “Gameful means to have the spirit, or mindset, of a gamer: someone who is optimistic, curious, motivated, and always up for a tough challenge.  It’s like the word “playful”—but gamier”, says Jane.

Announcing the Games for Change Advisory Board 2010

We’re pleased to share with you the 20 individuals on our new and expanded Advisory Board. In developing a plan for the Advisory Board and its structure, we hoped to broaden the voices formally serving as the sounding board for Games for Change, in the development of new programs and services for the community. We’ve expanded the group to include 20 individuals coming from the game making community, academia, learning and social impact experts (both funders and thought-leaders). We’re excited to have their support and active engagement in Games for Change moving forward!

Susana Ruiz interviews about IndieCade 2010


Last week, Susana Ruiz, creator of Darfur is Dying and co-founder of Take Action Games, attended Indiecade 2010.  Being an indie game designer and a new addition to the Games for Change advisory board, we wanted to get her opinion on the independent gaming scene, and The Cat and the Coup, winner of the “Documentary Award.” (Check out our interview with The Cat and the Coup creators here.)

The Cat and the Coup creators interview


Last weekend was Indiecade 2010. It’s an annual and international festival that aims to promote and celebrate independently developed video games. The highlight of the event is their award ceremony where a group of finalists are chosen in multiple categories. This year’s winners were incredible as always, you can view the full list here.

One of the winners that really stood out among the crowd was The Cat and The Coup, the winner of the “Documentary Award”. The game tells the story of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran.