Games For Change Festival Reveals 2021 Award Finalists

Games For Change Festival Unveils 2021 Award Finalists; Will Honor Niantic, Games Done Quick, and Mark Barlet of the AbleGamers Foundation for their Impact and Support of the Gaming Industry.

The organization unveils its annual G4C Awards finalists, Announces Industry Leadership, Giving, and Vanguard Award Recipients.

Games For Change, the leading global advocate for the power of games as drivers of social impact, announced the finalists for the 18th annual Games For Change Awards. The organization also revealed Niantic as the 2021 G4C Industry Leadership Award recipient for the company’s ongoing work in social justice, the environment, and well-being. Games Done Quick will be recognized as the 2021 G4C Giving Award recipient for their community speed-running events, which have raised over $31 million for charity over the past decade. Finally, Mark Barlet of AbleGamers Foundation will be honored with the Vanguard Award for continuing to champion accessibility and amplifying the voices of disabled gamers.

The Games For Change Awards will be streamed at 7:30 pm EDT on July 12th, 2021, as part of the virtual, three-day Games For Change Festival, July 12th – 14th, 2021.

“We are so honored to accept this year’s Industry Leadership Award!” said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, Inc. “At Niantic, our technology is focused on inspiring people to explore the world together, and AR helps make that happen. We continue to be excited by the connections that players make with one another, both in their own communities and around the world through AR technology.”

“It is an honor to receive this award from Games for Change,” said Games Done Quick founder Mike Uyama. “Ever since Games Done Quick started in my mom’s basement back in 2010, I would have never imagined we would raise over 30 million dollars for a variety of great causes. We are humbled to receive this award, and it is all thanks to so many people who help make this event possible: the speedrunning community, runners, volunteers, viewers, and donors who contribute to our events.”

“Games for Change has always held a special place in my social calendar,” says Founder of AbleGamers, Mark Barlet. “I have made life-changing connections with amazing people that have permanently moved the needle in making the world a better place. I am honored to be chosen as the recipient of the Vanguard Award. To be recognized by such a fantastic organization means so much to me and the AbleGamers’ mission of enabling play to combat social isolation to improve the lives of people with disabilities. “

This year’s awards are the most competitive and global in the Festival’s history – with over 200 submissions across six categories: Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, Best Learning Game, Best Student Game, and Best XR for Change.

A group of 65 game developers, researchers, and experts in game design reviewed the games and selected the finalists. Game entries came from established AAA studios, indie developers, and university-level students, exemplifying this year’s Games For Change Festival themes of imagining, igniting, and inspiring the future of social impact.

“This year, many of the G4C Awards finalist games are from emerging developers,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “More than half of our finalists are from international teams, with studios from the US, Canada, England, France, Germany, Chile, and Korea. We are thrilled that the finalists reflect the global audience of the greater Games for Change community.”

The 2021 Game For Change Award finalists include:

Best Gameplay

  • CHANGE: A Homeless Survival Experience from Delve Interactive (Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS)
  • Lost Words: Beyond the Page from Sketchbook Games (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One)
  • The Signifier: Director’s Cut from Playmestudio (Microsoft Windows, macOS, soon to be released on: Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4)
  • Spiritfarer from Thunder Lotus (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia, Linux, macOS)

Most Innovative

  • Suzerain from Torpor Games (Microsoft Windows, macOS)
  • A Fold Apart from Lightning Rod Games (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Apple Arcade, Xbox One)
  • Before I Forget from 3-Fold Games (Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS)
  • Lost Words: Beyond the Page from Sketchbook Games (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One)

Best Learning Game

  • Wisdom: The World of Emotions from Better Kids (Android, iOS)
  • The Wednesday from Gambridzy (Windows)
  • Radio General from Foolish Mortals (Windows, Linux, macOS)
  • Harmony Square from Bad News, DROG, Gusmanson (Web/Online)

Most Significant Impact

  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure from ustwo games (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Apple Arcade, Microsoft Windows)
  • Harmony Square from Bad News, DROG (Web/Online )
  • Through the Darkest of Times from Paintbucket Games(Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4)
  • Lost Words: Beyond the Page from Sketchbook Games (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One)

Best Student Game

  • Heirloom from Abby Sherlock, Kathryn Yu of USC Games (Windows, macOS)
  • Moving from Claire Hu and Meny Menczel of USC Games (Microsoft Windows, Mac, Android)
  • Respite from Kayden Chan/Klaiis (Sheridan College), Luxiere (Microsoft Windows, macOS)
  • SYNDESI from SYNDESI Team, Produced by Léa PERNOT & Adrien DAUGY of ISART DIGITAL (PC, Mac, Linux)

Best XR for Change

  • Kinfolk from Movers & Shakers NYC (Android, iOS)
  • Once Upon a Sea from Blimey and Intuitive Pictures (Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, HTC Vive)
  • Pandemic by Prisms from Prisms of Reality, Inc. (Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Quest)
  • Quadcade from MICA Game Lab (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Quadstick [External Hardware])

Additionally, 13 games from the Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Significant Impact, and Best Learning Game categories are eligible for the “G4C People’s Choice” Award, presented by Facebook Gaming.

“Facebook Gaming is once again proud to sponsor Games For Change, and we’re excited to see who will win the 2021 People’s Choice Award. In an increasingly virtual world, the role that games have in pushing society forward is bigger than ever before,” said Luis Renato Olivalves, Head of Gaming Creators, Facebook Gaming. Voting for the G4C People’s Choice Award closes on July 2nd.

Written by
GLYFE a gaming culture and lifestyle brand. We live to game. Visit GamingLyfe.com for all your latest gaming news, reviews, Esports highlights, live streaming news, Cosplay, and GLYFE Merchandise.

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