The Serious Games Developer Program was organized by Games For Change in collaboration with Global Game Jam and the US Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Participants of the program joined a 2-day workshop on how to develop serious games for impact. Then, they created a serious game prototype with a team of collaborators. At the end of the event, participants pitched their games to a panel of judges and potential investors at the virtual Games Gathering 2020. One winning team received a prize of $5000 USD to continue developing their game prototype, as well as $500 USD in Amazon Credits. During and after the program, developers were also mentored by US experts in game development, research, funding and other fields.
Fifty-five Ukranian developers participated in the Serious Games Developer Program, exploring how they can leverage their skills as developers to tackle meaningful social impact issues. By collaborating using Zoom and a Discord Server, participating developers were able to explore best practices, make new professional connections, and seek mentorship from US experts and professionals in the social impact developer community. With the affordances of virtual technology and translation services, Ukranian speakers were also able to speak with English-speaking facilitators and mentors in real-time during the workshop and game jam.
The winning game, Grand Story was developed by Andriy Bychkovskyi and Oleksii Netrebenko. In Grand Story, you play as an elderly grandmother living in a rural area. Apart from doing your daily routine, you are patiently waiting for a letter from your grandson. The game was made to raise awareness for the problem of loneliness of elder people, especially those who are living in remote areas. A final call to action at the end of the game encourages the player to remember their own relatives and reach out to them while they are still alive. Grand Story has since received player testimonials, and has been translated in English, Ukranian, Italian, and German.
For more information read the full case study here.