Every year, Games For Change hands out its own personalized set of awards to a series of games in the categories of Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, Best Learning Game, and of course, Game of the Year.
This year, the Game of the Year winner was Deck Nine’s Life is Strange: Before the Storm, which also took home the Most Significant Impact Award. Life is Strange: Before the Storm is a graphic adventure game, and a prequel to 2015’s Life is Strange, which took home several Game For Change awards itself in 2016. To win Game of the Year, a game must achieve impact, innovation, and gameplay; Most Significant Impact honors “games that target a specific social issue with proven actions/outcomes like awareness, civic learning, community building, or behavior change.”
Life is Strange: Before the Storm was also nominated for the Best Gameplay award, but lost to Giant Sparrow’s What Remains of Edith Finch, a “first-person exploration of the hereditary issues through the colossal Finch Family estate.” The Best Gameplay award honors games with “highly compelling and engaging gameplay whose game mechanics align with and reinforce impact goals.”
— Games for Change (@G4C) June 28, 2018
The Most Innovative award went to New Reality Company’s Tree, a VR game that transforms players into trees, definitely showing off the creativity and unique game design that this award is intended for.
Finally, the Best Learning Game award went to Charles University and Czech Academy of Science’s Attentat 1942, a game that takes the form of interactive comics set during Nazi occupation during World War II, which are based on survivors’ accounts. “Learning games” offer “meaningful engagement around intended learning objectives with measurable outcomes” which can include anything from physical health to academic subjects.
During this same ceremony, Katie Salen (University of California, Irvine; Chief Designer and co-founder of Connected Camps and founding Executive Director of Institute of Play) was awarded this year’s Vanguard award, which goes to a recipient who has “made a career out of working at the intersection of games, design, and learning.”
For more information on these games and the other impressive nominees, please check out our previous article on the Game for Change awards here, and don’t forget to keep on checking n3rdabl3 for more information about Festival programming and games–we’re here all three days!