Games for Change hosted in August a game arcade and outdoor game jam, supported by American Express, as part of the National Parks Service Centennial Celebration at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City.
We had a G4C Arcade where we showcased Save the Park, an iOS game about parks volunteerism that we executive produced in partnership with Schell Games. NYC-based game studio Gigantic Mechanic led our Smart Parks Game Jam, in which participants prototyped games that encourage people to interact with parks, showing how games can inspire environmental stewardship and civic engagement.
The hands-on game jam focused on creating live physical games that celebrate our parks led by the fantastic team at Gigantic Mechanic. The session introduced over 40 participants to the basic concepts and practice of game design, followed by an introduction to critical play: playing games and analyzing their structure. The game jammers worked in teams of four to five to design prototypes of games that integrate a physical aspect of the park, such as staircases, hills, walkways or fields and help engage visitors.
Once prototypes were ready and tested, all of the workshop participants came together to play each other’s games in a mini-field day. A panel of judges played and evaluated games, and included a National Park Service Ranger from Thomas Edison National Historical Park, American Express’ VP of Corporate Social Responsibility Meredith Hahn, G4C President Susanna Pollack, and two NYC game designers, Rachél Bazelais and Chris Algoo. Prizes were awarded for Best Game (as voted on by the other teams) and Best Players (the team that wins the most games during the field day), and winners were awarded limited edition American Express National Park gift cards.
Over 1,000 kids and families played our iOS game Save the Park at the G4C Arcade at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1, learning about different ways to volunteer in parks, and experiencing the conservation activities that support the U.S. National Parks from collecting soil samples to greeting visitors.
Save the Park seeks to inspire and encourage a new generation of park lovers to take an active role in helping preserve these important natural and historic resources for future generations. The American Express Foundation makes a $1 donation to the National Park Foundation for each download occurring during 2016, up to $50,000. The donation will support the NPF’s park conservation and stewardship work. So visit the iOS app store and download Save the Park onto your mobile device today! Learn more about Save the Park at gamesforchange.org/savethepark.
This G4C Arcade and Smart Parks Game Jam was part of the NY Park Exchange event series held in Brooklyn Bridge Park to kick off the National Park Service’s Centennial. Event visitors learned about Thomas Edison National Historical Park through a series of fun, interactive puzzle challenges, and Bill Nye the “Science Guy” made a special appearance to talk about the importance of parks conservation and stewardship for the over 400 national parks. Learn more about the National Park Service’s Find Your Park initiative at findyourpark.com and on social media using #FindYourPark.