Calling All Game Developers Who Want to Actually Save the World: First GameSave Event Kicks off June 10
Interested game developers may sign up immediately to develop games around disaster relief
Seattle – June 9, 2011 – What if we could use a game to lessen the impact of natural disasters? This question is the driving force behind GameSave, a new event with a goal of creating games that can literally save lives in the face of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. The first ever GameSave event will kick off on June 10; game developers will have five weeks to develop a game that addresses the issues and needs surrounding natural disaster preparedness, action, and relief. Developers may sign up until June 15.
Following the earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan, the need for effective disaster education became apparent to Gameranx.com lead editor Annie Dennisdóttir Wright and her friend Willow Brugh of Geeks Without Bounds. Both Wright and Brugh are based in Seattle, and realized that their area could be at risk of a major earthquake. As they discussed the work of renowned game designer and bestselling author Jane McGonigal, they became intrigued by the idea of games being used for good, practical, sustainable applications - including disaster education.
That conversation led to the creation of GameSave, a competition for developers with a simple mission: save the world, one game at a time.
As McGonical and others have shown, games can be an incredibly powerful resource and can be harnessed for real life problem-solving. Games are used in schools, children’s museums, and according to a 2010 report by the Entertainment Software Association, 67% of American households now play video games.
The idea of using gaming for disaster mitigation has been discussed among the gaming community for some time, but it was recently brought further into the public eye by President Obama’s recent call for the expansion of education technology into the realm of video games. In 2010 the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced their funding for the development of a game called Disaster Hero (due out this year) in order to “teach children and their parents, caregivers and teachers how to prepare for various emergencies.”
The goal for GameSave is to create a variety of games around disaster mitigation; developers may build games in any medium they choose - board games, mobile games, video games, etc. Brugh believes, “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Some people may like a role-playing game, while others may like an action-packed game. By involving a large number of developers who are all competing to create the coolest game, we’re ensuring that there’s going to be a game for everyone – which will potentially save more lives,” says Brugh.
At GameSave, Wright is looking forward to participation from “Game companies, designers, developers, artists, and anyone who believes that gaming is more than mindless entertainment.” She continues that a competitive environment "will make the entire thing a much more robust pool of gray matter from which to find a solution. And it’s also a better application of the underlying principle - the event itself is a game, and instead of getting one game from a single team, you pit other teams against each other and get several games in the end.”
Competing teams of game developers and emergency relief professionals will create a complete game concept and working demo aimed at an aspect of disaster relief.
Teams can be assembled in two ways: A team can be composed of independent individuals who organize themselves initially through our registration site and wiki. Teams can also be sponsored as a unit by their respective employers.
There will be an organization and planning period where team members will be expected to communicate with one another via wiki, which will serve as the main hub of team organization, or via any other methods they so choose.
After the initial goals and rules are delivered to each team, members may return home and continue to collaborate and polish their concept for submission. Participation is possible even if travel is not, because all location-specific happenings and presentations will be live-streamed. Additionally, travel scholarships are available as sponsorship allows.
Each GameSave concept or demo will be judged by a panel of experts in the fields of game design and emergency management. The awards ceremony and reception is scheduled for mid-July in San Francisco.
To register for GameSave, please visit the GameSave eventbrite: http://gamesave.eventbrite.com/
GameSave video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUSInXi9Dtc
GameSave is an event series with the goal of creating new games to aid in disaster preparedness, action, and relief.
Teams of game developers compete against each other for five weeks to create the game that is most likely to help save lives in the event of a natural disaster.
GameSave was created as a collaboration between Gameranx and Geeks Without Bounds.
Follow GameSave founders on Twitter: @chernobylheart and @willowbl00
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