Every year, Games For Change hands out its own personalized set of awards to games and XR experiences in the categories of Most Innovative Game, Best Gameplay, Most Significant Impact, Best Learning Game, Best Student Game, Best XR for Change Experience, Vanguard Award, G4C People’s Choice Award, Industry Leadership Award, and, of course, Game of the Year.
This year, Nintendo took home the Game of the Year award with the Nintendo Labo, a system of buildable cardboard modifications for the Nintendo Switch console. Labo combines physical and digital play to “teach and support principles of engineering, physics, and basic programming… and provide a fun way for kids to explore topics while building fundamental understanding of the technology behind them.”
Discovery Tour by Assassin’s Creed: Ancient Egypt by Ubisoft got a lot of attention this year, taking home both the Best Learning Game and the G4C People’s Choice Award, which polled over Facebook for the first time ever. Ubisoft also got the honor of taking home Games For Change’s first-ever Industry Leadership Award, for the studio’s “long track record of developing games and initiatives for education and social good.”
The Most Innovative award went to Tendar, a virtual pet system that learns and grows from the world you allow it to interact with. Best gameplay went to GRIS, a game about a girl whose perception of reality has been affected by a painful experience. Most Significant Impact went to UNICEF Kid Power, a system which allows kids to help the less unfortunate around the world simply by moving.
The Vanguard Award was given to Lindsay Grace, the Vice President for the Higher Education Video Alliance, this year. This is not his first year presenting at the Games for Change Festival, nor is it his first year to be honored by the organization.
Finally, this year saw two new award categories in the Best Student Game and Best XR For Change Experience awards. The Best Student Game went to Prism, a game intended to help neurotypical people empathize with those on the autism spectrum. Best XR For Change went to Homestay, a VR experience put forth by the National Film Board of Canada, which tells the story of a family’s life with international students.
Susanna Pollack, the President of Games For Change, was especially excited by the awards this year, as they “were really a reflection of how our organization and the Festival have evolved. To expand our award categories and also recognize the long contributions to education and social good of a AAA studio like Ubisoft speaks to the importance these trends have in society.”
Games For Change Festival 2019 began on June 17 and ends on June 19. For more information on the Festival, you can check out Games For Change’s site, as well as N3rdabl3 for further updates.