Join us for the Digital Playgrounds webinar with Sherri Hope Culver!

We’re back with a new event! A webinar called “Digital Playgrounds // Young Gamers and Critical Thinking” with Sherii Hope Culver will be live at 7pm CEST (1pm EST) on April 19th.

When adults look at teenagers playing video games, they often see a pleasant (but also ultimately meaningless) way of spending free time. What they might miss is the fact that for many young people games have become the most important part of their media ecosystem – and a space in which they learn critical thinking and other skills associated with media literacy. Such skills will prove crucial in their future – they will allow them to handle the surplus provided by the media, separate valuable information from fake news, and make informed choices of their own. All thanks to spending long hours playing video games.

Speakers

-Sherri Hope Culver, Director of the Center for Media and Information Literacy (CMIL) at Temple University, USA
-Pawel Schreiber, Indie Games Poland Foundation, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of English Literatures at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland

Register!

The event is free. It’ll take place on Zoom, with streams available on Facebook and Youtube.
Click here to register!

Organizers

This event is co-organized by Games for Impact, FINA, Indie Games Poland Foundation, Digital Communication Network (South East Europe HUB) and World Learning and is part of DCNSEE’s Ideas in Action – Digital Engagement, a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. DCN is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Citizen Exchanges.

We have over 40 games to show you!

 

Throughout the festival all registered users will be able to access the Games for Impact Game Expo to browse 41 hand-picked games, big and small, divided into four categories. Watch exclusive, bit-sized videos, in which game creators explore the social and educational aspects of their games. Ask them  questions and first of all – play! Most of the showcased games are free-to-play or have demos available.

 

GAMING THE ARCHIVE

Astrologaster

A narrative game based on the journals of Simon Forman, an Elizabethan astrologer, also serving as a “doctor”, treating the celebrities of the time. The game was made in cooperation with the Casebooks Project at University of Cambridge.

Brukel

A man explores the farmhouse where his grandmother spent her childhood. He revisits her memories – and her wartime trauma.

Cosmic Top Secret

An exploration game based on the memories of a family where both parents worked in the Danish intelligence during the Cold War. A slightly surreal mixture of the personal and the political.

Heaven’s Vault

A story-based science fiction game about an archaeologist researching the past of a mysterious nebula, where the player’s task is to decipher ancient inscriptions.

Help Will Come Tomorrow

A survival game set in the moments before the October Revolution. A group of trainwreck survivors have to deal not only with the harsh Siberian winter, but also with the political tensions within the group.

Raji: An Ancient Epic

Action-adventure game created by a team dedicated to showcasing their native culture. It features, for the very first time, a game world set in ancient India and infused with Hindu and Balinese mythology, drawn in the Pahari art style.

Svoboda 1945: Liberation

A sequel to the award-winning Attentat 1942, Svoboda is a historical game showing the problems and dilemmas of WW2 survivors in a small Czech village.

The End of the Sun

A first-person-perspective game based on Slavic folklore, where the action takes place on the boundary between reality and mythology. Ethnographic research plays a significant role in the construction of the gameworld.

Waterworks!

Card-based strategy game in which you’re in charge of water supply systems in the medieval town of Grudziądz, Poland. The game is based on research and made in cooperation with archeologists from University of Gdańsk.

Warsaw

A strategy RPG game based on the history of the Warsaw Uprising.

 

CRITICAL GAMING

#TORY

Typography based puzzle game about social media. It investigates stories told by hashtags used during the  #COVID-19 crisis.

Big Ban // Categorize the Maternity Ward

Play as a U.S. immigration officer and decide who is a security risk and who isn’t. Game created in response to Donald Trump’s so called “Muslim ban”. Its earlier installment was dedicated to the segregation policies at maternity wards in Israel.

Disco Elysium

A groundbreaking RPG game, that offers an opportunity to solve a criminal case in a bleak, postcolonial setting, but also forces the player to confront the shortcomings of his or her own political ideology.

Do Not Feed the Monkeys

A dystopian digital invigilation simulator, in which you watch strangers through surveillance cameras, invade their privacy and witness their most intimate moments/

Get Bad News // Go Viral

Two games exploring the mechanisms of misinformation and manipulation in social media. They are also research tools that help study the spread of fake news.

GIGCO: Escape the Gig Economy!

A pro-worker mobile game exploring the changing conditions of work and play. Tap your phone to deliver boxes and defend your minimum-wage job against impending automation.

Fakebook

A simple, yet effective game that challenges players to distinguish between real stories and fake news. Base on guidelines published by The International Federation of Library Associations.

Fake Your Own Reelection

A satirical political game, created in response to protests in Belarus following fraudulent presidential elections, as well as the Lukashenka regime’s the brutal reaction to them.

Mesmer

A unique social survival game in which you take the role of a revolutionary leader to overthrow the king.

Moloch (Zero)

Take an interview for a position of shift manager in a corporation. You must control the flow and speed of workers, balancing your ambitions against their health and safety.

Suzerain

Text-based political simulation game inspired by Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013 and their aftermath.

That’s Not Cool!

A Belarusian educational game aimed at teenagers, helping them make the right decisions in the event of detention by police. Widely used by educators and human rights activists in Belarus.

Wanderlust: Travel Stories

A text-based game about traveling, admiring the diversity of the world and understanding the complexities and dramatic divisions which are often hidden from the eyes of regular tourists. The game draws from the best traditions of contemporary non-fiction.

Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Heart of the Forest

A game that combines elements of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, a popular RPG system, with current events – as a young American student visits Poland in search of her roots, logging begins in one of the oldest forests in Europe.

 

GAMES FOR HEALTH

112 Operator

You are responsible for answering 112 calls and sending the appropriate emergency services to save lives.

After Hours

Full motion video game, that allows players a glimpse into the life of Lilith Gray – a young woman who was molested as a child and suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder as a result.

Curtain

A poignant image of an abusive relationship and the scars it causes.

Fragments of Him

A narrative game about death and grieving. It revolves around a tragic accident, and the life of the victim and his loved ones before and after the incident.

If Found

It’s 1993, and a teenager returns home, to the island of Achill in western Ireland, to face her family, her friends, and the difficulties of growing up.

SAD RPG

An RPG game whose protagonist suffers from social anxiety. Instead of fighting imaginary monsters, they confront their real fears and anxieties.

Sea of Solitude

Metaphorical adventure game about a lonely young woman turned into a monster by her feelings of hopelessness, anger and worthlessness.

The Point of No Return

Walking simulator that tells a deeply personal account of a Ukrainian war veteran from his decision to serve in the war zone to his return home with a physical injury and mental instability.

The Stillness of the Wind

A quiet game of life, loss, ageing and death. Talma, approaching her final years, maintains a simple life, while increasingly disturbing letters arrive from her family in the city.

Xoli and the World of Tomorrow

In this 2D action platformer you try to help Xoli, a seven-year old girl, deal with the death of her parents to Covid-19. The game is founded on the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Watch Me Stream My Mental Breakdown

A story card game that lets players experience how emotionally challenging being a streamer really is.

 

CHILD’S PLAY

Beyond Blue

Educational diving adventure game created with leading ocean experts. Players explore the ocean as Mirai, a deep-sea explorer and scientist, who takes part of a newly-formed research team using groundbreaking technologies.

Edoki Academy: Montessori Preschool

A library of more than 1000 Montessori-inspired activities for preschool kids, supporting the development of reading, writing, counting and coding skills.

Everything

The only Oscar-nominated game in history happens to be a great, interactive experience suitable for families. Explore the universe in which every object is a playable character — from animals to planets to galaxies.

Thinkrolls

Avokiddo is an award-winning creative studio producing quality educational apps for children. Thinkrolls is a series of physics-based puzzle games, designed to enhance kids’ logic and problem solving as well as improve spatial cognition, memory, and executive function. In Thinkrolls Play & Code kids can also create and play their own logic puzzles with simple drag and drop.

Tinybop: The Explorer’s Library

A library of 11 open-ended, interactive models, that lets kids explore the invisible wonders of the world and gain foundational science literacy.

Tukoni

Hand-drawn puzzle adventure, based on a series of award-winning books by the Ukrainian artist Oksana Bula. Play as Tukoni, the forest spirits, as you explore a magical world filled with kindness.

“Deaf” and “silver” games, or accessible gaming

The fashionable term “accessibility” postulates doing away with the barriers faced by gamers with disabilities… And not just them. During the fourth day of Games for Impact (December 11) we will talk about how designing games with accessibility in mind increases the comfort of all audiences.

The first speaker of the day will be Tara Voelker responsible for the games accessibility program in Microsoft’s American headquarters. She will talk about the solutions implemented by the Redmond tech giant in terms of both software and hardware, including the unique adaptative Xbox controller, which quickly opened the doors to gaming for multitudes of players with limited mobility. The meeting with Tara will be a unique opportunity to learn about the current “golden standard” in designing accessibility.

Bob De Schutter (Miami University) and Damian Gałuszka (AGH) will talk about the rising popularity of “silver gaming.” They will explain how to design games for older audiences and why video games can be the seniors’ chance for a better life. Karolina Stachowiak, accessibility expert at Doji studio, will talk about designing good subtitles and sound settings. She will also explain why “Fallout 76” is a particularly bad game for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Accessibility is something that should be taken into consideration at the design stage of the game… But even those who have already published their productions are not out of options.

No one knows more about the ways in which the producers of hardware and software cater to the needs of people with physical disabilities than the gamers themselves. The Polish Tekken master Adam Gajda will share some of his experiences with modern consoles and controllers and tell us how he got around the limitations of non-accessible games.

Persons with special needs who are interested in participating in the event are welcome to contact the Festival accessibility coordinator, Julia Girulska (julia.girulska@fina.gov.pl, +48723510062).

Child’s Play. Introducing the second day of the festival

Can video games offer kids anything except pure entertainment? This War of Mine has been added to the school curriculum in Poland, so apparently the answer is yes! Are teachers and schools ready for it? Do game makers take kids’ development needs into consideration while designing games? And where do parents fit into all of that? We will discuss all that on Dec 9th, the second day of the festival.

Video games can be a great resource in the classroom. It has been known at least since 1971, when Don Rawitsch, a teacher’s assistant for a high school American History class, has shown his students The Oregon Trail, a project which later became one of the first computer game hits in history. We have been wondering how to systemically introduce games into education systems for nearly half a century now, but the project still poses significant challenges. During Games for Impact, the roots of these difficulties and the ways to overcome them will be discussed by Vit Sisler, the creator of Attentat 1942 and Svoboda 1945, which are successfully used by Czech history teachers,  educator Rafał Lew-Starowicz, till recently associated with the Textbooks, Programs and Innovations Department of the Ministry of National Education in Poland, and representatives of the Finnish initiative Teacher Gaming.

Creating good games for kids is a huge responsibility – young audiences cannot be manipulated, encouraged to make purchases, or forced to spend long hours in front o f the screen. At the same time, building a sustainable business model on responsibly designed games is not easy. How can the ethical approach to design and a market success go hand in hand? We will discuss this with Raul Gutierrez, designer of games for kids from the American company Tinybob, and Wiesław Bartkowski, a researcher studying the impact of technology and design on people.

On top of that, we invite you to our workshops and practical sessions. The teachers will have the opportunity to create a lesson plans based on This War of Mine, a game recently added to the school curriculum, in cooperation with game creators themselves. Game designers, teachers and parents will hear the story of the educational robot Photon, learning a thing or two about introducing digital products to the classrooms. Parents will have a unique opportunity to talk to Andy Robertson, the creator of AskAboutGames, a website promoting safe and responsible ways of introducing kids to the world of video games.

Games for Impact 2018

The first edition of Games for Impact took place in Warsaw on Nov 29th-Dec 1st 2018. It featured a curated showcase of 30+ games and XR experiences, as well as an amazing list of speakers, including Asi Burak (Games for Change), Jurriaan van Rijswijk (Games for Health Europe), Amy & Ryan Green (That Dragon, Cancer), Francois Rizzo (11-11 Memories Retold) and dozens of other prolific game creators from all over the world.

Two days of programming included Q&As, talks, video showcases, a live music set, the Game and XR Arcade, industry meetings and workshops. More than 250 game devs, investors, policy makers, media reps, researchers, educators attended the event.

Want to know more? You can browse the program or you can watch this short after-event video: