Games For Change Festival has been held for 15 years, with the sixteenth annual festival coming up this June. Games for Change seeks to celebrate and drive real-world change “using games that help people learn, improve their communities, and contribute to make the world a better place.

However, even before the Festival starts setting up, an event made possible by the partnership between Games For Change and the Entertainment Technology Center with Carnegie Mellon University known as Brain Jam runs for three days.

Brain Jam will be running for its third year, although the partnership between Games For Change and Carnegie-Mellon began a few years before the Brain Jams did. The idea behind Brain Jam is to open communication and collaboration between different parties, for example, putting together parties who are interested in tech, but don’t know how to create it, with those who can create tech but aren’t sure about marketing, and those who can code but need assistance conducting research, and so on.

Just as important as the project that comes out of the Brain Jam is the experience of learning from others in your Brain Jam team, who are normally complete strangers, finding new ways to think about your task, how to be more thoughtful, and, ultimately, creating a network any member of the team can reach out to at a later time. Some teams have even remained in touch to return to later Brain Jams, and some have continued to develop projects begun at a Brain Jam.

In previous years, Brain Jam has built teams out of VR/AR programmers, game developers, and neuroscientists specifically, this year the focus of Brain Jam will expand beyond neuroscience to research in general. Ultimately, all projects will have an opportunity to be displayed and demoed at the Games for Change Festival, which begins the day after Brain Jam ends. Three to four projects will then get nominated to speak on the main stage at Games For Change/XR For Change in order to share their project goals, what was created, and the work that was done.

At this time, registration for Brain Jam has opened, and you may apply here. You must be able to attend the entirety of the Jam, from June 14 at 6 PM to 8 PM on June 16 in Arnhold Hall of the New School (located in Manhattan) to be considered; additional requirements are listed on the registration link. Accepted applicants will also be given free passes to the entirety of the Games For Change Festival, which runs from June 17 to June 19. Additional information about Brain Jam can be found here.

Additionally, if you’re more interested in or comfortable with attending and interacting with creations, passes to attend the 2019 Games For Change Festival are also available online at this time. The Festival also takes on the New School’s campus, almost entirely within its student center. For additional information on the Festival, you can check out its website here and our coverage of the Festival and related events here.

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