2018 G4C Student Challenge: Program, Winners and Award Ceremonies

admin No Comments

Games for Change is thrilled to announce the 28 winners of the 2018 Games for Change Student Challenge and to recognize the partners, organizations, educators and students who contributed to making this year’s program a resounding success.
Competition Results
The 2018 G4C Student Challenge competition yielded nearly 600 games, created by over 1,100 students – some working as individuals and others in small teams. This year, students were challenged to design and code games about four social impact themes: Connected Cities, Kindness & Empathy, News Literacy and Wildlife Conservation. The winning games teach strategies for preserving pollinators and mountain lions, introduce technologies that can improve life in our cities, explore how kindness matters, combat the spread of fake news, and so much more.
Winners were determined through a rigorous jury process, which involved over 55 professional judges from the games, technology and innovation industries, as well as experts on each of the theme topics. Games were evaluated on gameplay, creativity, originality and use of theme.
Students’ creative efforts were recognized at local award ceremonies, which took place in May and June in each of five participating cities: NYC, LA, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Atlanta. In each city, finalists were invited to demo their games as part of an Awards Showcase and winners were announced and presented with prizes during on-stage ceremonies. Prizes included Android Tablets, exclusive G4C swag, theme-related physical and experiential prizes as well as career-oriented opportunities. The Grand Prize Winner in each city was awarded a $1,000 Scholarship Prize, generously provided by Take-Two Interactive, a proud supporter of the G4C Student Challenge. Winning games were also showcased to the professional community during the 2018 Games for Change Festival.
Full details on each of the 2018 award ceremonies and winning games can be found below. Throughout the year, you can find the winning games featured on the G4C Student Challenge website here.
About the 2017-2018 Program
The G4C Student Challenge expanded to five US cities during the 2017-2018 school year – NYC, LA, Atlanta, Detroit, and Pittsburgh – and reached over 5,000 students from diverse backgrounds. Students learned game design in their middle/high public schools, participated in local impact-themed game jams, and submitted hundreds of original games to the end-of-year competition.
This year’s Challenge focused on four pressing topics, each supported by national and local cause-oriented partners, who shared their expertise by participating in live events, curating an online library of resources and activities (on the Student Challenge website) and developing game design prompts for student competitors. This year’s topics and theme partners included:

Wildlife Conservation (supported by National Wildlife Federation)

Connected Cities (supported by National Organization of Minority Architects)

Kindness & Empathy (supported by iThrive Games and Born This Way Foundation)

News Literacy (supported by Common Sense Education)

The 2017-2018 G4C Student Challenge was led by Games for Change and a consortium of national and local partners in each participating city. National curriculum partner Mouse supported the training of cohort educators and the integration of a Serious Game Design curriculum into cohort schools. National assessment partner, Institute of Play, developed framework for the evaluation of students in cohort schools and the overall program assessment. Key supporting partners in each city included The Grable Foundation in Pittsburgh, General Motors in Detroit and Atlanta, and the Annenberg Foundation, AnnenbergTech and Annenberg Learner in Los Angeles. Additional program supporters included Take-Two Interactive, Unity Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the Bigglesworth Family Foundation.
What’s next for the G4C Student Challenge?
We are excited to announce that the Student Challenge program will continue in NYC, LA, Atlanta, and Detroit for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year! We look forward to continuing to support the next generation of game designers and to seeing how their creative work will help improve communities and create real-world impact. The 2018-2019 Challenge themes will be announced in the upcoming weeks – stay tuned!
Interested in becoming a Student Challenge educator?  We are currently recruiting middle and high public school educators in NYC, LA, Detroit and Atlanta to participate in the upcoming year’s G4C Student Challenge. As a cohort educator you will receive free professional development training in game design and empower your students to create social impact games using a Serious Game Design curriculum. Submit your application here by August 20th and seize the opportunity to teach STEAM skills to young leaders while tackling social issues.
Interested in becoming a Student Challenge partner? G4C is seeking national and local partners to support program funding, theme sponsorship, venue donations and communication partnerships and more! Email [email protected] for more information.
Stay tuned and sign-up to our community channels for announcements relating to the 2018-2019 program!
2018 Winners & Award Ceremonies
New York City: Awards Ceremony & Competition Winners
G4C hosted NYC’s 3rd annual Student Challenge Awards Ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum on June 23, 2018. The event attracted nearly 300 attendees, which included student game designers, educators, program partners, family and friends.


Students demo games at the NYC Awards Showcase at the Intrepid Museum

The event kicked off with a showcase of 34 finalist games – each with its own ‘gaming station’ thanks to generous technology support from Dell. The showcase was a busy hive of activity, attracting general museum goers (in addition to the Challenge audience). After playing the student finalists’ games, attendees moved into the Intrepid’s Lutnick Theater for the Award Ceremony, which was emceed by Anjali Bhimani (voice actress for the character Symmetra in Blizzard’s hit game Overwatch) and featured remarks from Susanna Pollack (G4C), Alex Fleming (Mouse) and NYC cohort educators Tim Horodyski and Betulia Lindsey. The awards were presented by program partners, including Shadille Estepan (Born this Way Foundation), Sherry Snipes (NOMA) and Carl Domingo (Unity Education). The event concluded with a short reception with snacks and refreshments, mingling and, of course, more games!
The entire event was live-streamed by media partner BeTerrific, capturing exclusive interviews with student finalists, the full award ceremony presentation, and the incredible Intrepid ship where it all took place. Watch the full event livestream here.
Grand Prize Winner:
Solar Sprout: Geneva H – High School of Art and Design 
Connected Cities: Best Overall Game 
Solar Sprout: Geneva H – High School of Art and Design
City Ghoul: Alexander B, Alston C, Nathan S, Maddox G – Mark Twain I.S.239
Wildlife Conservation: Best Overall Game 
It’s Never Too Late – Kartik K, David R, Brian R, Anthony S – Tottenville High School 
Bee’s Quest: Tristan K, Nicholas M, Alvis L – PS 102Q 
Kindness & Empathy: Best Overall Game 
What Goes Around, Comes Around: Anastasia B, Anton T – High School of Art and Design 
Phobic: Langening R – PS 102Q
News Literacy: Best Overall Game
Sources, Please: Amandou D, Geneva H – Bronx International High School 
Fake News: Nancy C, Nicole Y, Tina T – John J Pershing 220
In addition to recognizing the student winners, G4C honored one educator whose students contributed the most submissions to this year’s competition. Congratulations to Tim Horodyski from PS 102Q for winning the first-ever G4C Teacher Inspiration Award!
Los Angeles: Awards Ceremony & Competition Winners
The Student Challenge Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles was hosted by Annenberg at Cross Campus DTLA on June 2nd and was attended by over 75 students, families, teachers and program partners. The event opened with an arcade of student finalist games, allowing students to discuss their design processes and share their game projects with one another.
Overwatch voice actress Anjali Bhimani emceed the ceremony, which also featured remarks from the Annenberg team and program partners Common Sense Education and #SaveLACougars. Susanna Pollack, President of G4C presented the $1,000 Grand Prize Scholarship. See Annenberg’s blog post here for more info about the LA G4C Student Challenge Awards and check out photos from the event here.

Grand Prize winners take the stage at the LA Awards Ceremony.

Grand Prize Winner
Mountain Lion Maze of Life: Isaac T, Jomo H – William Mulholland Middle School & STEAM Robotics Magnet
Wildlife Conservation: Best Overall Game
Mountain Lion Maze of Life: Isaac T, Jomo H – William Mulholland Middle School & STEAM Robotics Magnet 
Cougar – Naomi M – Girls Academic Leadership Academy
Kindness & Empathy: Best Overall Game
Me, My Friends, and I: Devin L – Florence Nightingale Middle School
The Stress Quiz: Christopher B, Kiev G – STEM Academy of Hollywood
News Literacy: Best Overall Game
Gossip!: Celeste V, Phoebe C, Julissa M, Giselle M – South Gate Middle School
News To You: Stephanie R, Louis P – STEM Academy of Hollywood
Pittsburgh: Awards Ceremony & Competition Winners
The Student Challenge Awards Ceremony in Pittsburgh was hosted on June 2nd at Alloy 26 at Nova Place. The two winning students were interviewed on SLBradio to discuss their creative processes and personal experiences designing games about Kindness & Empathy.The event also included a brunch for winning students and their families as well as a presentation of prizes. Prizes included play passes to local gaming lounge LFG, 3D printed awards, $100 STEAM gift cards from PIGDA, special exhibition tickets to the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the $1,000 Grand Prize Scholarship from Take-Two Interactive.  Listen to the interview broadcast here and check out photos from the event here.

Winning students from Pittsburgh discuss their games on a live radio broadcast.

Grand Prize Winner:
Garret at Chameleon School: Kendall C – Highland Middle School
Kindness & Empathy: Best Overall Game
Chasing Dream: Kathryn B – Pittsburgh Gifted Center
Detroit: Awards Ceremony & Competition Winners
On Saturday, June 16th, the Detroit Awards Ceremony and Arcade was held at GMRENCEN for over 75 attendees. 28 student finalists showcased their games about Connected Cities and the ceremony was emceed by Susanna Pollack (President of G4C). Matt Ybarra from General Motors spoke about the GM/G4C partnership and the company’s role in empowering and creating opportunities for the next generation of creators, technologists and innovators. Tiffany Brown from NOMA took the stage to distribute prizes to winning students, who received trophies, Android tablets and exclusive swag from G4C, in addition to tech backpacks from NOMA; all finalists received Arduino kits and competition certificates. See photos from the event here.

Detroit Grand Prize Winner features his game as part of the Awards Showcase in Detroit

Connected Cities: Grand Prize & Best Gameplay Winner
The Nightmare Adventures of the Whisp: Nathan C – Northville High School
Connected Cities: Best Use of Theme Winner
Connecting Through Energy: Victoria H – Detroit Edison Public School Academy
Connected Cities: Most Original Game Winner
Driverless Cars in Detroit: Andrew K – Livonia Career and Technical Center
Connected Cities: Best Style
City Park Cleanup: Slate S – Livonia Career and Technical Center
Connected Cities: Technical Excellence Winner
City Clean Up: Vincent C – Livonia Career and Technical Center
Atlanta: Awards Ceremony & Competition Winners
The Atlanta G4C Student Challenge Awards Ceremony was hosted by our program partners at Georgia Tech on May 16th at the Georgia Tech Student Success Center. Students, educators, families, and program partners attended the event, which featured an arcade of 24 student finalist games and a ceremony with remarks from the [email protected] and CEISMC teams at Georgia Tech, Sherry Snipes (NOMA) and Susanna Pollack (G4C).. In addition to the $1,000 scholarship from Take-Two Interactive, the Grand Prize winner was awarded a week of GT Coding Camp, courtesy of Georgia Tech!  Check out photos from the Atlanta awards ceremony on the G4C Flickr page here.

Finalists and winners of the G4C Student Challenge in Atlanta

Grand Prize Winner:
City Simulator: Kol G – Maynard Jackson
Connected Cities: Best Gameplay
Healthy Habits: Koen V – PTC
Clean The City: Justin X – River Trail 
Connected Cities: Best Use of Theme
Build-A-Town: Ian W, Neiko A, Parth P – Rockdale Magnet
Choose Out Pollution: Vedant B, Arnav S – Vickery Creek Middle School
Connected Cities: Most Creative Game
StreetCell: Matthew M, William B, Jabari M – A.R. Johnson 
Crime Out!: Brady F, Ryan M – Vickery Creek Middle School
G4C would like to recognize the [email protected] and CEISMC teams from Georgia Tech for making this year’s Atlanta program a huge success.
Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners of the 2018 G4C Student Challenge competition! And a big thank you to the educators and parents who supported the young game creators during their design process and for encouraging their participation in the Student Challenge. Have a wonderful summer – we look forward to seeing you next year!
The post 2018 G4C Student Challenge: Program, Winners and Award Ceremonies appeared first on Games For Change.

Recap of G4C18 Festival and XR4C Summit

admin No Comments

15 years celebrating the impact of games!
It’s a wrap! This year’s 15th annual Games for Change Festival was a major success! We hosted over 1000 attendees with many of them coming from countries around the world. The 3 day event kicked off with the proclamation from Mayor Bill DeBlasio that Thursday, June 28th was officially Games for Change Day. We were fortunate to have Deputy Commissioner Kai Falkenberg to give the award to founders Barry Joseph, Suzanne Seggarman, Benjamin Stokes, G4C’s chairman Asi Burak and G4C’s president Susanna Pollack. We are so proud to see G4C’s diverse community grow and to be a platform where everyone can join forces to discuss and build impactful projects together.

We would like to send a special thank you to Matt Parker, Alexander King, the Institute of Play and Ryan Seashore for curating the different tracks and providing such insightful programs and sessions to the G4C and XR4C communities.
From the XR Brain Jam to the speed networking and Meet the Funders sessions, we saw so many people meeting each other and forging new partnerships. We hope you keep in touch throughout the year and let us know about the amazing work that is born out of this gathering.
Meanwhile, take a look at the Festival and XR for Change Summit photos on our Flickr account and share away with your networks and friends. Also don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel to be notified when the Festival videos are uploaded.

Subscribe here for videos 

See photos on Flickr here

XR for Change Summit — join the XR4C community
Our second XR for Change Summit featured over 13 immersive experiences presented by Microsoft, UNICEF, Oculus VR for Good, Conservation International, Emblematic Group, Sundance Institute, Stanford University, Columbia University and many other leading content creators. We are excited to see what impactful XR projects NGO’s, technologists and game studios continue to produce to tackle social issues.
We are very excited to grow the XR for Change community and we continue to look for ways we can add value to the people pioneering this space. Join the ever-expanding #XR4C community to be part of our year round programs such as the XR for Change Talk and Play. Sign-up to our newsletter and follow us on social media to learn on how to get involved. If you are interested in partnering or supporting any of the XR for Change programs, please send us an e-mail on [email protected]

Sign up for XR for Change newsletter

Round of applause and congratulations to the G4C Award winners and nominees!
Congratulations to all the winners of the G4C Awards, specially Life Is Strange: Before The Storm for winning Most Significant Impact and Game of the Year. A special shout-out to tech ethicist David Ryan Polgar for making us laugh hard and emceeing the G4C Awards. Here are the 2018 winners:
Game of the Year & Most Significant Impact awards
Life Is Strange: Before the Storm: In this choice-based narrative prequel, players see the world through the mind of Chloe Price, a 16 year-old rebel whose self-destructive lifestyle threatens her relationships and well-being. At the helm of this angsty and emotionally powerful protagonist, the player must navigate Chloe’s life decisions when an unexpected friendship throws everything off-kilter.
Best Gameplay Award
What Remains of Edith Finch: Set in the home of “America’s most unfortunate family,” this immersive and unsettling first-person narrative drama delves into hereditary issues. As Edith, players explore the colossal Finch family estate on a quest to discover why she’s the last one alive in her family.
Most Innovative Award
Tree: Through virtual-reality, players are transformed into a majestic rainforest tree. With arms as branches and their body as a trunk, players experience firsthand nature’s life cycle, starting as a seedling in the ground to seeing the view at the top of the canopy, and humanity’s ecological footprint.
Best Learning Game Award
Attentat 1942: Using cinematic-style interviews with survivors, interactive comics and historical footage, this dialogue-based game places players in the center of Nazi occupation during World War II. Players speak to eyewitnesses, live their memories and uncover compelling details of one family’s story.
Polygon x Games for Change People’s Choice Award
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice : Made in collaboration with neuroscientists and personal accounts of psychosis, this action-adventure hybrid pulls the player deep into the mind of Senua, a broken Celtic warrior fighting for the soul of her dead lover. As Senua, the player wrestles with mental illness and the rationalization of the incomprehensible to progress.
Vanguard Award
Katie Salen, founder of the Institute of Play, was awarded the Vanguard Award for her inspiring contributions to the field of play based learning and advancing the games for change community.

Here’s what G4C’s friends are up to

Join G4C at the Game Devs of Color Expo, taking place July 14th from 11 am – 6 pm at The Schomburg Center. The Game Devs of Color Expo is an inclusive games expo and conference that features creators from across a spectrum of backgrounds showing off their games, building culture, and pushing games forward as an artform. Get your tickets for as little as $20, $5, or for free here.

Be part of Playcrafting’s Play NYC on the weekend of August 11th and 12th at The Manhattan Center. Play NYC will feature over 90 games and 85 game developer studios showcasing the best in indie video games and VR. Don’t miss the interactive playground for all ages and buy your tickets here.

The post Recap of G4C18 Festival and XR4C Summit appeared first on Games For Change.

Videogames: Pleasure and Dependence – Press Release Games for Change Europe

admin No Comments

Is Intensive Game Playing a Mental Health Condition?
Join Games for Change Europe in Paris for a spectacular seminar “Videogames: Pleasure & Dependence” and find out by yourself…
Compulsive game playing is now a mental health condition according to the World Health Organization in the latest edition of its disease classification manual announced Monday June 18.
This decision raises important questions:
♦ What are the Signs & Symptoms of Videogame Addiction?
♦ Is game addiction a pleasure-seeking dysfunction or a passion-seeking endeavor?
♦ What are the foundations for game addiction?
♦ Is there a relationship between Game Addiction and Psychological Distress?
♦ Games and “Puritan work ethic”: How games are viewed in France, the US, Japan?
♦ Is game addiction similar to pornography addiction?
♦ Is game addiction similar to drug or alcohol addiction?
♦ What about the Joy of Transgression?
♦ Catharsis or Aggression?
♦ How Game Designers build stickiness?
♦ Stickiness & data analytics: Good or Evil?
♦ From Immersion to Addiction: An irresistible path?
♦ Is it still possible to build a bridge between Gamers and Society (Parents, Educators, Authorities…) and how?
Join us in Paris (France), on Friday, July 6, for an intense discussion about one of the hottest topics of the moment.
Gamers, Game Designers, Parents, Analytics Specialists, Educators, Cognitive Neuroscience Experts, Publishers, and Psychotherapists will discuss the impact of games on the mental health of gamers.
Lévan Sardjevéladzé, CEO – Celsius Online / Président – Syndicat National du Jeu Video (SNJV) ;
Julien Villedieu, General Manager – SNJV ;
Dr Olivier Phan, Addictologist – Centre Pierre Nicole ;
Dr Bruno Rocher, Psychiatrist – Addictologist – Service d’Addictologie / IFAC au CHU Nantes ;
Dr Pierre Taquet, PhD – Clinical Psychologist- GHSC, CHRU de Lille, PSITEC Lille 3
Raphaël Robert-Bouchard, Game Designer – Libellud ;
Joceran Borderie, Game Designer and Psychologist;
Marientina Gotsis, Artist and Designer / Research Associate Professor of Interactive Media & Games, Cinematic Arts – University of Southern California.
Michael Stora, Psychologist & Psychoanalyst – OMNSH ;
Thomas Gaon, Clinical Psychologist, addictology, teenagers, and new media specialist – CSAPA,
Vanessa Lalo, Clinical Psychologist specialized in digital practice and their impact on cognition, education, and culture
Prof. Dr. Emmanuel Guardiola, PhD – Prof. Dr. in game design at Cologne Game Lab – TH Koln
Oriane Cappella – Corporate Social Responsibility Director – Ubisoft International
Frédérique Cauvin Doumic – Curator – Games for Change Europe
Jean-Michel Blottière – President – Games for Change Europe.
The post Videogames: Pleasure and Dependence – Press Release Games for Change Europe appeared first on Games For Change.

How Games and VR Frame Refugee Issues

admin No Comments

Carne y Arena – Alejandro González Iñárritu © Legendary
Darfur is Dying and Food Force
In 2006, I visited the G4C Festival for the first time. In a break-out session, I initiated a conversation on games as a documentary medium. Drawing from the poetics of documentary, we discussed how docu-games mix ‘documenting’ and ‘fictionalizing’ elements to make Games for Change more attractive and persuasive for a game- playing audience (see my article ‘Reality Play,’ available on the G4C Resource Center website). At the Games Expo, I saw Susana Ruiz present Darfur is Dying (2006), a Flash-based browser game about the crisis in Darfur, western Sudan. Ruiz has stated that the game design was influenced by that of Food Force (2005), a game published by the United Nations World Food Program.
It is difficult to overestimate the importance of both Darfur is Dying and Food Force for the development of the field of Games for Change. In a study initiated by G4C − Impact with games: A fragmented field (2016, see – the authors refer in a rather implicit way to both games: “Some of the big early examples came from surprising places, including student games launched by MTV [Darfur is Dying, JR] and passion projects from the UN World Food Program [Food Force, JR].” In 2010, I published my research on both games in a chapter called ‘A Taste of Life as a Refugee: How Serious Games Frame Refugee Issues,’ which is also available on G4C’s Resource Center website.

A Taste of Life as a Refugee
In this chapter, I examined how Darfur is Dying and Food Force frame refugee issues in ways that are medium specific. The starting point of my investigation was the conceptual framework of cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff, who theorizes the cognitive dimensions of politics. In order to increase our understanding of how both games frame political issues, I approached them from a ‘family values’ perspective. Contemporary American political discourse – maybe now more than ever − is divided between two different models of the family: a strict-father family model and a nurturant-parent family model. The democrat Lakoff favors a foreign policy based upon nurturant parent values, such as protection from harm, community building, caring, and responsibility. His descriptions of these values echo the goals of both games, I concluded.
In the second part of the chapter, I analyzed in more detail how both Food Force and Darfur is Dying involve players in these nurturant parent values in a medium-specific way. As a starting point, I took the definition of a computer game as developed by Jesper Juul. The basic rules of both Darfur is Dying and Food Force turned out to be clearly ideologically motivated ones: players can only win the games by supporting Darfuri civilians, or by completing six missions and, in doing so, helping to fight hunger. But I also argued that computer games are never unambiguous or one-way traffic. Games – like all media texts – are polysemic and, therefore, open to multiple readings. I showed that most players interpreted the game more or less according to the encoded ‘nurturant parent’ frames. But my research also made clear that some players criticized or denied the importance of the values incorporated in the two games.
Life as a Refugee: Games for Change
During my sabbatical year at the NYU Game Center (2017-2018), I – once again – did research on refugee and migration games, and on their shared goal to make a difference on an individual and community level, or even to influence society. Our engagement with this topic is now needed more than ever, given the political situation in both the U.S. and Europe. In the last few years, these games have encouraged support, sympathy, and action for a variety of migration and refugee issues: providing refugee children with game-based education (Project Hope), investigating the causes and effects of migrant deaths along the Arizona-Mexican border (The Migrant Trail), raising awareness about the complexity and risks of the refugee experience (Against All Odds), critiquing ever-increasing rules and paperwork for immigrants (Papers, Please), and providing immersive virtual-reality and role-playing accounts of the horrors faced by immigrants and refugees (A Breathtaking Journey, Carne Y Arena, A Day in the Life of a Refugee).
My research draws inspiration from game studies and political theory, and analyzes how migration and refugee games oppose today’s politics of fear by presenting optimism as a duty. I presented my research at a conference at Columbia University, under the title ‘Life as a Refugee: Games for Change’ 

Carne y Arena – Alejandro González Iñárritu © Legendary
At this very moment, I’m writing an article about the VR installation Carne y Arena (2017) by the Academy Award-winning Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Based on true accounts by Central American and Mexican migrants – which is why it is called ‘a semi-fictionalized ethnography’ – Carne y Arena is a six and a half minute solo experience that allows viewers to thoroughly live through a fragment of the refugees’ personal journeys, basically their (and partly your own) confrontation with the U.S. Border Patrol.
I was able to visit the experience three times in Washington DC, to talk to local partners (the Phillips Collection and the Atlas Performing Arts Center), and interview people from the Emerson Collective, and Iñárritu’s producer. In my opinion, Carne y Arena is the best VR installation available in the field of VR for Change. While most other VR experiences struggle with the limitations of the medium – because of a lack of understanding of the possibilities of VR, a lack of financial resources, or both – Iñárritu and his crew have set a new standard for VR for Change.
Four elements seem crucial for Carne y Arena’s success. First, the real VR experience is enfolded by a prologue (the viewer is immersed in a waiting room, a kind of holding cell where refugees are kept at) and an epilogue (the viewer is in a room where you can read the actual stories of their lives), enabling you to gradually enter and withdraw from the state of fiction you’re in during the immersive experience. Both the prologue and epilogue also provide you with the refugee’s context and background details. Second, the way Iñárritu breaks with the film frame enables you not only to choose where and when to look, but also to choose the position from where you look at the events that take place in the virtual 360° space of the desert. You can hide behind the bushes, choose the side of the border patrol agents, or decide to (virtually) help a refugee mother and child. This makes Carne y Arena a multi-narrative space. Third, by alternating the perspectives between ‘visitor’ and ‘participant,’ Iñárritu ensures that your experience is neither too stressful nor too detached: the most important condition for an empathetic experience to take place. Fourth, this ‘virtual’ reality project is turned into a multi-sensorial and bodily experience of being in the shoes of a refugee. ”The body never lies,” according to Iñárritu. And that’s the way it is felt in this immersive experience…
Joost Raessens is chair of Media Theory and director of the Utrecht Center for Game Research, both at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. [email protected];;
You can visit Carne y Arena in Washington DC and Amsterdam, the Netherlands
For more information about Carne y Arena:
–Interview Iñárritu by LACMA director Michael Govan
–Interview Iñárritu on Art and Technology at the Phillips Collection, Washington DC
The post How Games and VR Frame Refugee Issues appeared first on Games For Change.

Game to Grow: Esports as a Learning Platform

admin No Comments

The new North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) started as a regional league in Southern California and quickly garnered the enthusiastic support of teachers and administrators – and also drew in a subset of students that typically are not otherwise engaged in school.
Anthony Saba is Head of School at Samueli Academy, a public charter high school with two teams. He said, “Kids are going to game anyway, so creating a healthy atmosphere with academic accountability is a good thing. Research demonstrates a strong alignment between competitive engagement and in-school academics.”
In NASEF, coaching on game skills and team dynamics is provided by qualified near-peer mentors. Workshops offer in-depth training on topics like following a code of conduct, building a PC, shoutcasting, and analyzing gameplay.
Dr. Mimi Ito, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at UC Irvine, researches how young people engage with digital technology. “Esports provides a way for young people to hang out with their friends in a really active and positive way,” she said. She recognizes the amount of work it takes to get good at games like League of Legends (one of the platforms used by NASEF). “Students are engaged in 21st century skills and problem-solving, and they’re understanding how to connect their own problem-solving with a whole community of players.”

The ability to think creatively to solve problems and to work collaboratively and productively with a team will equip students for evolving careers in all STEM fields (not just those related to gaming).
“The League has been carefully constructed with an academic framework incorporating STEM, ELA, and social emotional learning, as well as Career Technical Education,” said Constance Steinkuehler, professor of informatics at UC Irvine, and leader of curriculum development and related research.
Through the spring 2018 season of the Orange County High School Esports League™, Steinkuehler and a team from UC Irvine evaluated existing and potential alignments between organized esports and school subjects, as well as social emotional learning. Early results demonstrate that students playing in this League developed individual emotional regulation, built good sportsmanship through teachable moments, and were motivated to attend class more and to focus more on homework.
NASEF has developed a new high school English Language Arts curriculum that leverages esports for interest-driven learning that relates education to the real world. “This is not a simple esports league that gives a nod to educational benefits,” said Steinkuehler. “Scholastic benefits are at the heart of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation. Kids not only love it – they’re becoming more engaged and better educated as a result of participating. Now that’s using gaming to grow!”
Specific questions can be directed to League leadership, and you can learn more about the League at
If you’re attending the Games for Change Festival, be sure to attend the panel discussion Game to Grow: How Esports Can Shape Student Success on Friday June 29.
* For video resources click here.
The post Game to Grow: Esports as a Learning Platform appeared first on Games For Change.

⏰ 1 Week Left to Purchase Tickets for #G4C18 ⏰

admin No Comments

The Games for Change Festival is only 1 week away!

Register now to snag the last few spots in reserved sessions and a ticket to AU & HEVGA’s networking happy hour. 

Join AU & HEVGA’s Happy Hour
Receive an invitation to join #G4C18’s Happy Hour with American University Game Lab, Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) and theEntertainment Software Association (ESA) on Friday, June 29th after purchasing a ticket to the Festival. Make sure to register to receive your Happy Hour invite!


The post ⏰ 1 Week Left to Purchase Tickets for #G4C18 ⏰ appeared first on Games For Change.