Games for Change (G4C) has launched the early registration website for its 2006 conference on “Social Change and Digital Games.” The 3rd annual event will be co-hosted June 27th and 28th with the New School in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Registration fees will increase after May 26th. Full event details are available at: www.gamesforchange.org/conference/2006/index.htm
This event is the annual gathering for the exciting new movement using digital games to address the most pressing issues of our day. At the conference, expert practitioners -- academics, activists, non-profits -- will be called in to examine the impact of current games and preliminary work to build the field. Keynotes include Bob Kerrey, The New School President, and best-selling author Steven Johnson of "Everything Bad Is Good For You." A showcase of the latest social change games will be open to the media at the Games Expo. Panel topics include Games for Global Peace, Creating a PBS for Games, Academic Evaluation Efforts, Recent Funding Initiatives, Health and Environmental Awareness Campaigns, and Guerrilla Nonprofit Games.
Featured speakers include Josh Fouts, Executive Director of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Connie Yowell, Senior Program Officer, MacArthur Foundation, Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby, authors of “Smart Bomb,” game maker Asi Burak of PeaceMaker, the UW-Madison's David Williamson Shaffer, representatives from MTV and the Museum of the Moving Image, David Rejeski, Director of the Foresight and Governance Project at the Wilson Center, and Katie Salen, Acting Director of the Design and Technology Center at the New School, among many others.
A private briefing for potential funders to this field will be hosted the previous day by the Robert Wood Johnson, Surdna and MacArthur Foundations. In addition, a media-only briefing will take place at the Games Expo on the 27th.
Videogames are increasingly ubiquitous. More than half of all Americans play them, as this technology matures there is the potential for a new breed of games to emerge with a real impact on such diverse issues as poverty, health reform and racial inequities. This year’s featured games include the public diplomacy game Peacemaker, where Isreali and Palestinian youth play together, and Darfur is Dying, which provides a first-person role-play of life in the Darfur region of Sudan.
The social change sector is often slow to understand and adopt new technologies. Like public TV and documentary film before them, there needs a concerted and informed effort to create a public space for this new media. Collective strategies today will have tremendous long-term power to facilitate the development of games for the public good.
For inquiries, please see the conference website.
*Games for Change (G4C, www.gamesforchange.org) provides support, visibility and shared resources to individuals and organizations using digital games for social change. We formed in 2004 as a sub-group of the Serious Games Initiative. The 2006 conference was developed to showcase the state of the art, evaluate outcomes achieved, and to grow the overall capacity of the sector. G4C acts as a national and international hub to help organizations network and develop videogame projects beyond their traditional expertise. Our members represent hundreds of organizations and include partners in the games industry, academia, nonprofits, local and state governments, foundations, the UN and artists.
*The New School (www.newschool.edu) is a leading progressive university comprising eight schools bound by a common, unusual intent: to prepare and inspire its 9,300 undergraduate and graduate students to bring actual, positive change to the world. Within the school, Parsons is one of the premier degree-granting colleges of art and design in the nation. Its graduates and faculty appear on the short list of outstanding practitioners in every realm of art and design — creative, management, and scholarly.