Impact With Games seeks better ways to describe and define the impact of increasingly diverse digital games for the communities of funders, designers and makers, and cause-driven organizations.

It aims to increase connections between creators and researchers, introduce more transparent guidelines for funding opportunities, and seek broader agreement on how to measure and define success.

G4C seems like an ideal place — across many networks and disciplines — to host this conversation. The project is run in collaboration with researchers at the Michael Cohen Group, and includes an advisory board chaired by Benjamin Stokes alongside game researchers and designers Tracy Fullerton, Constance Steinkuehler, and Debra Lieberman.

Read the first report: A Fragmented Field and share your feedback!


The 2015 NYC Games for Change Student Challenge is the pilot for a new digital game design challenge developed in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education that invites middle and high school students to create original games about real-world issues impacting their communities.

The Challenge program includes funded professional development in game design for 20 teachers, in school and after-school game making courses, live student meet-ups and hackathon, and mentorship by professional game designers. The Challenge culminates with an awards gala and exhibition of student work at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Games for Change is hosting the Challenge in partnership with the Institute of Play, Globaloria and the Museum of the Moving Image. The Challenge is funded by the Susan Crowne Exchange (SCE) Foundation, XPRIZE Foundation, A Kinder World Foundation and Unity Technologies. Theme partners include The New York Times, XPRIZE, A Kinder World Foundation and the NYC Mayor’s Office.

To learn more or participate, visit the Challenge website.


G4C has developed and run a series of game design competitions for developers in order to surface some of the best concepts from around the world and engage talent from within and outside the sector.

Current challenge:

  • Nuclear Security: N Square and G4C are launching a challenge that tackles nuclear security and helps raise awareness about the threat of nuclear weapons. N Square is a new initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ploughshares Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

Past challenges:

  • 2014 – Shoot for the Moon: $25K prize for a space exploration game, with the Schusterman Foundation and Google Lunar X Prize frontrunner SpaceIL.
  • 2013 – Sex Etc.: $35K prize for a sexual education game, with the Packard Foundation and Answer.
  • 2011 – Real-World Games for Change Challenge: a physical games contest with Come Out & Play as part of the River to River Festival.


Our Public Arcades bring the work of game developers addressing positive social change and learning to new audiences and unexpected contexts.

Examples include:

  • Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair: G4C runs an annual block-long arcade showcasing games from public and private sponsors.
  • Indie Arcade at Smithsonian Museum of American Art: curated games that were played by over 4,000 attendees.
  • USAID Frontiers conference: exhibited a series of games around empowering women worldwide.
  • Cities of Learning: curated an online arcade for participants in seven cities in 2014. At the end of the summer, G4C hosted a public arcade in Chicago. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.