How is gaming teaching new audiences about the climate crisis?

GLF Live with Elizabeth Newbury and Alan Gershenfeld

See the full GLF Live series here.

Games are some of our most effective teachers. They pull us into their small worlds with the enticement of entertainment and of winning, teaching us their own particular rules along the way. When their worlds and rules mirror those of our own, they teach us about reality itself. In turn, this can make players begin to understand and invest in an issue, while equipping themselves with new knowledge and skills to confront adversities in real life too.

In this GLF Live, heads of two game design houses, Elizabeth Newbury and Alan Gershenfeld, will discuss when and how games can be the most effective format for exposing people to certain realities, conveying information, and explaining complex topics. This GLF Live forms part of the Storytelling Track of the GLF Bonn 2020 digital conference.

Join the conference here, and find this session on the agenda here.

Illustration by Jessica Ball

Life is more fun if you play games.

Roald Dahl

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

Elizabeth M H Newbury is the Director for the Serious Games Initiative for the Wilson Center, leading Wilson’s use of games in engaging the public around policy research. As lead of the Serious Games Initiative, she leverages games as a tool for the public communication of science and policy research. Current projects include the Fiscal Ship, a game about the federal budget developed and maintained in collaboration with the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy with the Brookings Institute. Collaborating across the Wilson Center, her works in progress include games pertaining to topics ranging from cybsercurity and plastic pollution. Outside of the Wilson Center, she helps coordinate across federal agencies to help support the ecosystem of games used for social good. Under her leadership, SGI is pursuing how public policy and science can come together in an interactive platform to increase public dialogue and engagement around timely and critical issues of today.

Alan Gershenfeld is Co-Founder/President of E-Line Media, a developer of commercial video games that help players understand and shape the world. E-Line titles include the BAFTA award winning Never Alone, Beyond Blue, Gamestar Mechanic, The Endless Mission and MinecraftEdu. Alan has worked on impact game projects with the Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, NSF, BBC, USAID, DARPA, White House OSTP, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Games for Change, Google, Sesame Workshop, MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, ASU Center for Games and Impact and others.

Alan has written articles on technology, media and social impact in Scientific American, Education Week, Huffington Post, Slate, Politico, Marketwatch, South China Morning Post and Knowledge Quest. Most recently, he is co-author of Designing Reality: How to Survive and Thrive in the 3rd Digital Revolution with his two brothers. HE serves on the Board of Directors of FilmAid International and on the Advisory Boards of iCivics and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. He is former Chairman of the Board for Games for Change, a Founding Industry Fellow at the ASU Center for Games and Impact, and Co-Founder of Experimental Design, a leading world-building agency.

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