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GAMES FOR CHANGE FESTIVAL ! 2014 Games for Change Awards!! DAY Two Highlights!!! Watch the live tune-in Stream

GAMES FOR CHANGE rolls on Strong!  Day 2 was full of highlights and powerful speakers absolutely preparing the audience to create a world through games that prepares the players to fully interact with new skills for the real world.

You OWE it to yourself to listen to the keynotes and speakers just to keep up with serious, education in the 21st Century and to hear the output of real minds at work.

Women have comprised 2/3 of the audience/participants at the Conference/Festival, and women have been at the forefront at most of the morning workshops as well. It remains fascinating to note the progress at a formerly male dominant preserve that women have continued to persevere and help create the new dynamic that comprises the serious games industry.

Games for Change wrapped the second day of the 11th annual Games for Change Festival, held as part of the Tribeca Innovation Week at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T (TFF).

Archived footage from Wednesday’s panels can be found here: The link is also available for live tune-into today’s panels.

Highlights from Wednesday included:

Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, gave a talk on one of the challenges of human life: what is good for us right now is often not what is good for us in the long term.

Zoran Popovic, Associate Professor & Director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, spoke about a set of strategies deployed in our efforts to make deep measurable impact with games on two domains: scientific discovery, and school mastery for every student, pointing to a set of surprising and significant results in both scientific discoveries and concept mastery for every school-ready child on a national level. In addition, Zoran’s talk introduced a new game that we expect will create a brand new research process in the field of synthetic biology.

Josh Larson discussed the concept of grace in game design and in the creation of That Dragon, Cancer, a poetic, surreal videogame in which players explore the immersive world of co-creators Ryan and Amy Green as they raised their son Joel, a child who fought terminal cancer, and found hope in the shadow of death. If grace can inspire players to extend a little more grace to others – to better value someone else as a human – how could that influence life choices, policy creation, and positive societal change?

The Schusterman Family Foundation, in partnership with Games for Change, awarded a $25,000 cash prize to Theorify for its game, SpaceIL Academy. The game Moon Rush won the People’s Choice Award. As part of the Shoot for the Moon Game Design Contest finals, the task was to design a digital game for Space IL, the Israeli team that is a frontrunner to receive the Google Lunar X prize. Space IL aims to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon by 2015, and this game will help them get there.

Deborah Estrin’s talk focused on precedents for small data in mobile health, and the opportunities and challenges of broadening the scope of small data capture, storage, and use. Use of these traces could enhance, and even transform, our experiences as consumers, patients, passengers, customers, family members, as well as users of online media. These traces might fuel apps that offer individuals personalized, data-driven, insights into their habits and habitats.

Designers really care about their games and ideas. When you talk with them, their passion is evident. Unfortunately, this passion doesn’t always translate into the game itself. These games leave the player feeling bored and indifferent. How can a designer ensure that his passion is palpable in his game? What is the difference between a game with authentic caring and those without it? The CEO of Schell Games, Jesse Schell explored the definition of “authentic caring” and why it comes through in some games, while falling flat in others.

As well, winners were announced: the winners of the 2014 Games for Change Awards were announced Wednesday. The awards ceremony also included recognition of the 2013 National STEM Challenge Award winners.

Papers, Please, developed by Lucas Pope, was the night’s big winner, claiming the “Most Innovative Game” and “Best Gameplay” awards. Other winners included Gone Home, developed by the Fullbright Company, which won the “Game of the Year” award; and Mission US: Cheyenne Odyssey, developed by THIRTEEN, American Social History Project, and Electric Funstuff, for the “Most Significant Impact” award.

“We are thrilled to see such expressive and high-quality games from both commercial and independent developers,” said Games for Change President Asi Burak. “By combining their passions and undeniable talent, these developers have succeeded not just financially, but also in presenting thought-provoking gameplay with real-world impact.”


Created by Games for Change, the annual awards are designed to celebrate excellence in the year’s best games for social impact and learning. The eight winners were selected by a blue-ribbon jury and the awards were presented to winners at the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts. The jury members include Craig Hatkoff (Co-Founder, Tribeca Film Festival), Craig Hagen (Electronic Arts), Robin Hunicke (Designer, Funomena), and Jaime Uzeta (SVP, Social Action, TV and Digital, Participant Media). The event was hosted by Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games and a leader in creating transformational games.

Also during the event, the special annual “Game Changer Award,” which recognizes significant, global contributions of individuals who inspire and mentor new generations of game creators and researchers, was awarded to Dr. James Paul Gee. Gee’s work has focused on the learning attributes in digital games and how these learning attributes can be applied to the K-12 classroom and beyond. It has been cited by numerous studies in the field of games for change and learning, and served as the foundation for strategic funding, such as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Gee was involved as an advisor and mentor in many successful projects, such as: Quest to Learn, iCivics, Gamestar Mechanic, and the Games for Change Festival itself.

For more information and to play the games, please visit

We actually enjoyed the concept for Truth Box as well, and will discuss the Kickstarter campaign in our next story.


And so we begin Day 3! We want to applaud Games for Change for a quite brilliant display of talent. Founded in 2004, Games for Change facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as powerful tools in humanitarian and educational efforts.

The organization aims to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good and most recently served as the Executive Producer for the incredibly successful Half the Sky Movement: The Game inspired by the global movement created by Pulitzer-Prize winning authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

To further grow the field, Games for Change convenes multiple stakeholders, highlights best practices, incubates games, and helps create and direct investment into new projects.


April 24, 2014 - Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, TECHNOLOGY, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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