Highlights from Day 1 Include Keynotes from Constance Steinkuehler, Moran Cerf, and Michael Gallagher and the Games for Change Awards


(NEW YORK, NY) July 31, 2017 — Today, at the first day of the 14th Annual Games for Change Festival, attendees were treated to presentations by industry leaders from the festival’s three focused tracks: Games for Learning, Neurogaming & Health, and Civics & Social Issues, all of whom highlighted the impact that games are having in these major sectors. The Keynote speakers included Constance Steinkuehler, Professor of Informatics at University of California, Irvine; Moran Cerf, Professor of Neuroscience and Business at Kellogg School of Management; Michael D. Gallagher, President and CEO of the ESA; Chris Graves, Oglivy Center for Behavioral Science; and Tracy Fullerton, USC Game Innovation Lab. Keynote presentations were recorded via Periscope – archived footage can be accessed here:

One of the biggest announcements to come from the day’s event were the winners of the Games for Change Awards. A jury of leaders in the gaming industry, philanthropic sector, media, and tech judged based on the following categories: Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, Best Learning Game and Game of the Year. The winners are as follows:



  • Walden, A Game: Walden, A Game, is a first-person simulation of the life of American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond. Players follow in Thoreau’s virtual footsteps, balancing their basic survival needs with a search for the sublime in the small beauties of the woods.



  • Tracking Ida: Tracking Ida is an educational ARG inspired by pioneering journalism of Ida B. Wells and piloted in Watts in 2017. Players learned about Wells’ crusade against lynching by unlocking archives and solving puzzles. Connecting history to the present, they investigated police killings today and learned media making to spread awareness.



  • Everything: Everything is about the quiet explosion of life going on all around us. It is a simulation of reality where everything you see is a thing you can be, from animals to planets to galaxies and beyond – you can be the Universe or create your own.



  • Dragonbox BIG Numbers: Dive into the world of the Nooms and learn big numbers, long addition and subtraction! Your child is challenged to think strategically over the course of the game to trade resources and unlock new worlds.



  • At Play in the Cosmos: At Play in the Cosmos puts players in the pilot’s seat, where they journey through space and time in a quest to solve mission challenges. The game helps students build an intuitive understanding of the scale of the universe, the tools astronomers use, and the process of science.


Constance Steinkuehler, Professor of Informatics at University of California, Irvine, was awarded the Vanguard Award for her contribution to the advancement of Games for Change. Also, Bernie DeKoven, Game Designer & Author, was awarded Lifetime of Play for his dedication to the conversation around play and games for over 50 years.


The 14th Annual Games for Change Festival debuted the Game Jam Guide e-book that was developed and written by Kevin Miklasz from Brainpop, Matt Farber, Alex Fleming from Mouse and Sara Cornish from Games for Change. The guide book is the culminating work of four Moveable Game Jams, funded by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund through a Catalyst Grant in 2016. This curriculum guide shares over 20 flexible lesson plans and new ideas from experts who led game jams in NYC and who are focused on three real-world issues: climate change, smart cities and immigrant history. Game Jam partners included Global Kids, Mouse Institute of Play, Museum of the Moving Image, Brooklyn College Community Partnership and Coderdojo NYC. This program reached over 1000 students at events held in four NYC boroughs, which motivated NYC students to submit 400 original video games to the G4C Student Challenge citywide competition and win some prizes from Take-Two Interactive and Ubisoft.


The Festival also marked the third annual Games for Change third Industry Circle program, an initiative that recognizes emerging leaders who work in impact and learning games. Participants in the Industry Circle Town Hall included new members André Thomas, CEO of Triseum LLC, Devin Young, Co-founder and President of Classcraft, Michael Angst, CEO of E-Line Media, Manolo Diaz, CEO of Yogome and charter members Jennifer Javornik, Vice President of Sales, Filament Games along with Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games. The first day of the festival also opened the Marketplace Forum, a curated expo of 20 leading companies and game studios which showcases new platforms, innovative technology and games in a business-to-business format. Festival attendees, media and press are able to explore and demo the games in the Marketplace throughout this two-day festival.


The Games for Change Festival continues on Tuesday, August 1 at Parsons School of Design. For more information, or to request credentials to cover Day 2 of the Festival, please contact [email protected]


**A NOTE TO MEDIA: Footage & photos from Day 1 of the Games for Change Festival’s panels and presentations are available upon request and can be used for transcribing purposes.


About Games for Change

Since 2004, Games for Change (G4C) has been empowering game creators and innovators to drive real-world change, using games that help people to learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies as well as nonprofits, foundations and government agencies, to run world class events, public arcades, design challenges and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working to use games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.


About Parsons School of Design

Parsons School of Design is one of the world’s leading institutions for art and design education. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.



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