Civics & Social Issues at #G4C17: Fake news, immigration, women’s rights, and other international political issues

2017 Games for Change Festival - passes now on sale

Banner for G4C Festival Civics & Social Issues track

Screenshot from Four Horsemen


Fake news, immigration, human rights, and more …
The Civics & Social Issues track explores the tremendous international political changes over the last year.


What’s the role of games during political and civic turbulence? How can we respond and adapt as a field, apply our games to real-world change, and perhaps think a little differently about our work?

The Civics & Social Issues track brings together speakers who address these questions, while elevating a diverse range of voices from independent and commercial game development whose work engages with international political topics in a different way than institutionally-driven games for change.

Keynotes include:

  • Madeline Di Nonno (CEO of the Geena Davis Institute) presents the institute’s groundbreaking research tool, the GD-IQ (Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient) to evaluate gender bias in media.
  • Paolo Pedercini (game developer, artist and educator, Molleindustria / Carnegie Mellon University) looks at games in the current political climate through protest games and playful resistance.
  • Mary Flanagan (director, Tiltfactor Lab at Dartmouth College) shares how to get hard evidence out of a game for social change.
  • Tracy Fullerton (director of the Game Innovation Lab at the USC School of Cinematic Arts) discusses why games for the humanities like Walden, a game are critical even as their federal funding is threatened.
  • Colleen Macklin (professor at Parsons School of Design and founder and co-director of PETLab) examines the ways that games and play are political. 

People interacting with the AR app Priya's Shakti

International political issues are at the forefront of the Civics & Social Issues track.

In the age of “fake news”

  • Celia Hodent (director of UX, Epic Games) addresses cognitive biases and logical fallacies in games.
  • Lindsay Grace (associate professor at American University) presents an overview of current newsgames and how Factitious can help newsrooms understand how their content is used.

Fighting for human rights

  • Ram Devineni (producer, Priya’s Shakti) shares how his comic books and augmented reality app challenge sexual violence.
  • Leena Kejriwal (founder, MISSING Public Art and Awareness Campaign) explains how MISSING uses metrics to examine empathy and understanding around human trafficking.

Art for Club Penguin's Coins for Change initiative.

Art from Club Penguin‘s Coins for Change

Other highlights from the Civics & Social Issues track …

  • Nicole Rustad (chief impact officer, Vortovia) speaks about her work at Disney on Club Penguin‘s Coins For Change initiative, which inspired millions of kids in a community-driven, virtual world campaign over 10 years.
  • Kevin Chen (founder, Nuclear Fishin’ Software) shares lessons from Four Horsemen and ways that even the smallest studios can efficiently include more diversity in their games.
  • Elizabeth Maler (co-founder of Accidental Queens and co-author of A Normal Lost Phone) gives tips on stealthing your game’s social impact.
  • The finalists of G4C’s Migration Design Challenge present their different approaches to creating a game about conflicts and opportunities related to integration.


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Meet the curators
Please give a warm welcome to the two talented game designers who are curating the Civics & Social Issues track.

Naomi Clark is a game designer, teacher, and scholar who has been making games since 1999. She has contributed to over three dozen titles in various roles, including designer, producer, artist, writer, and programmer. Naomi’s experience spans from developing games for well-known companies such as LEGO to smaller-scale independent and experimental work.  

Lindsay Grace is an associate professor at American University and founding director of the American University Game Lab and Studio. He has published more than 45 papers, articles and book chapters on games since 2009. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than eight countries and 12 states, including New York, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, Singapore, Istanbul, Sao Paulo, Chicago and Vancouver.  


What are you looking forward to at the Festival?
We want to hear from you! Share what you want to see, who you want to meet, or which talks you’re excited about on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with #G4C17.



Reminder: We’re looking for Festival volunteers

The Festival would not be possible without our talented volunteers. In exchange for volunteering, we invite you to attend part of the Festival, where you will hear from experts, meet others in our community, and experience new impact games. Sign up to volunteer here.



Limited Marketplace booths available

Apply to showcase your game or tech at the Festival. The G4C Marketplace is a curated b2b expo that invites companies and game studios to demo new games, technologies and platforms to over 800 attendees. Apply here.


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