Blog Post

Games 4 Change Festival

Games For Change is offering 10% off registration for their annual festival, to be held on May 27-29 in New York City, for HASTAC members.  The discount code for registration is 125489HS.

Please forward widely, and contact with any questions. 


Please join us for the 2009 Sixth Annual Games for Change Festival, May 27 - 29, in New York City!  This is the only event dedicated to the exciting new movement of video games for social change - games about poverty, global conflict, climate change. Called "the Sundance of video games" for "socially-responsible game-makers" we're building a new genre of video game - games to change the world - for the better.

This year's festival features an Opening Keynote by Pulitzer-Prize winning author and world-changing New York Times journalist  Nicholas Kristof who will give us a sneak peek into his new book, television show and video game!

Other festival highlights include a fireside chat with preeminent games and learning scholars Jim Gee and Henry Jenkins; an interactive game design session by leading game designer Eric Zimmerman; and a closing keynote by Lucy Bradshaw, Executive Producer of Spore, and one of the 10 Most Influential Women In Games.

And don't miss our Games Expo, where festival-goers can see and play these new games firsthand in a lively and media-friendly reception.  And this year will see the first-ever Knight News Game Award, sponsored the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Come see how games are being used to address key events and issues in the news!

Back by popular demand "Let the Games Begin: 101 Workshop on Making Social Issue Games," our pre-festival day-long workshop for newbies on May 27th! (2008 MacArthur Foundation's DML Competition award-winner) This workshop is a soup-to-nuts tutorial on the fundamentals of social issue games. Vital to those who are new to designing learning games but passionate about social issues, the workshop features leading experts on game design, fundraising, evaluation, youth participation, distribution, and press strategies. The 101 Workshop on Making Social Issue Games is made possible through the generous support of the AMD Foundation.

There are also special festival events for journalists, researchers, and funders.

Festival panelists and speakers include:

Ian Bogost, CEO of Persuasive Games and author of Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism

Heather Chaplin, journalist (NPR, NYT) and author of Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment, and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution.

Mary Flanagan, Director of the Tiltfactor Lab

Tracy Fullerton, Assistant Professor, USC, Interactive Media

Judith Helfand, Independent filmmaker

Frank Lantz, CEO Area Code; Acting Director, NYU Game Center

John Nordlinger, Senior Research Manager, Microsoft

Ian Rowe, former head of Public Affairs at mTV

Katie Salen, Executive Director, Institute of Play; Associate Professor, Design and Technology Department, Parsons The New School for Design

Seth Scheisel, New York Times game critic and technology journalist

Kurt Squire, Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Constance Steinkuehler, Assistant Professor Assistant Professor Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison

Clive Thompson, Contributor, The New York Times, Wired

Among many others.

A recent Pew Report showing that 97% of teenagers playing games, noted that "some particular qualities of game play have a strong and consistent positive relationship to a range of civic outcomes"  making games perhaps one of the most powerful media of our day for learning and civic engagement.  The Annual Games for Change Festival brings together the world's leading foundations, NGOs, game-makers, academics, and journalists to explore this potential and how best to harness games in addressing the most critical issues of our day, from poverty to climate change, global conflicts to human rights.  And some of these new games are being played by (literally) millions of people of all ages.

For more information, visit  We look forward to seeing you all there!

We are thankful for the generous support of our Festival sponsors, the AMD Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and Seed Magazine, as well as Parsons The New School for Design.


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