Games for Change Unveils Festival Lineup to Address Today’s Most Urgent Global Issues

The online world is stepping up with Games For Change 17th festival set to take on the worlds current issues.

Games for Change, the leading global advocate for the power of games as drivers of social impact, today unveiled the Festival program, which will address today’s most urgent global issues – COVID-19, racial injustice, accessibility, inclusivity, mental health and more.

The now-virtual and free, three-day Games for Change Festival (July 14 – 16) will feature more than 150 industry experts including new keynotes Dr. Courtney Cogburn, who will discuss how virtual reality can foster anti-racism, and Colleen Macklin, who will unveil the top games rooted in diversity and inclusivity that every player should play, but not likely familiar with.

The Festival will comprise more than 100 sessions across four programming tracks – Games for Learning, Civics and Social Issues, Health and Wellness and XR for Change.

“Now in its 17th year, the Games for Change Festival has become a center point for striving to solve today’s most urgent problems – bringing together technologists, advocates, academics and government officials,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change.

“As the world grapples with a pandemic, justice, mental health and inclusivity – the Festival will explore how games and immersive media drive accessibility for all, offer alternatives to pharmaceutical medicine, tackle social injustice and create caring online communities.”

Festival speakers come from every discipline, including Dan Ayoub (Microsoft), Daniel Kelley (Anti-Defamation League), Gordon Bellamy (Gay Gaming Professionals/USC), Dr. Brennan Spiegel (Cedars-Sinai Health System), Jaron Lanier (Microsoft), Mia Tramz (TIME Magazine), Mimi Ito (Connected Learning Lab), Chris Milk (Within), Yennie Solheim (Niantic), Katie Salen (UC Irvine),  Laura Higgins (Roblox), Jesse Schell (Schell Games), Oliver Palmieri and Anthony Kozak (Ubisoft), Rob Lowe (LEGO Ventures), and the youngest speaker and VR superstar, 17-year-old Winston Matthews.

Following is a sampling of sessions that support the Festival’s themes of resilience, connectedness, and well-being.

Health & Wellness

  • Winning Against Pandemics
  • Games to Train Healthcare Force
  • Gamifying Social Distancing
  • A New Era of Experimental Medicine
  • Designing One-Button Games for Accessibility

Games for Learning

  • Democratizing Games Creation With Dreams
  • What Teens Tell us About the Role of Games During COVID-19
  • Exploring Indigenous History in When Rivers Were Trails
  • Making Video Games for Autistic People
  • Rapid Adaptation: Lessons from 100 Years of Gamified Learning

Civics & Social Issues

  • Building Bridges to Fight Hate in Games
  • Resilient Cities, Play and the Return to Public Space
  • You Are Here: Using Game Design to Empower Underserved Youth
  • Accelerating Acceptance through Transgender Representation
  • Creating Caring and Care-full Online Play Communities

XR for Change

  • Exploring Digital Rights: Data Sovereignty in XR
  • Access for The Future of XR
  • Holograms in the Age of Social Distancing
  • VR Brain Training for Mental Fitness
  • Changing Narratives with Immersive Storytelling

This year’s Festival will also welcome two new delegations from South Korea and Malta as well as the launch of an Asia-Pacific Games for Change chapter.

Additionally, participants from the long-time Latin America and European chapters will be in attendance and together, will lend a global perspective.

Participants can register to attend the free Festival here.