Firstly we must congratulate all the winners of this year’s Games for Change awards! The games and their creators should be applauded for their work in creating truly impactful games. 🎉

What is the Games for Change Festival?

The Games for Change (G4C) festival celebrated its 20th anniversary during a warm summer in New York City. G4C has brought out expert perspectives across various game industry sectors for many years. It has been THE destination for people looking to change, innovate and inspire others through the medium of games. 

This year was no different, with its slue of talks, workshops and essential networking opportunities. However, a key addition to this year's amazing roster was the Games & SGD Summit at the United Nations, which explored how games can support key UN SGDs in front of various policy leaders. Another addition to the year's events was the Next-Gen Summit which highlights how the youth can bring forth new ideas to the future of impactful gaming. 

The award ceremony featured so many amazing games and their creators! 10 categories, each with 4 nominations that had us on the edge of our seats for who would take home the awards. There were over 400 entries for the awards this year; all of the nominees and categories can be found here, and the winners have been listed below. 

Here are 13 of the Games for Change 2023 winners and nominees that we have loved

Endling: Extinction is Forever (Won: Game of the Year/Most Significant Impact)

Platforms: PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android, iOS

Developer: Herobeat Studios

As the last mother fox on Earth, your cubs need all your care to survive in a merciless world that slowly destroys itself. You have to help them, teach them and save them. And you should never forget that extinction is forever – in the real world.

Terra Nil (Won: Most Innovative)

Platforms: Android, iOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac operating systems

Developer: Free Lives

Terra Nil is a game about transforming a barren, lifeless landscape into a thriving, vibrant ecosystem. Turn dead soil into fertile grassland, clean polluted oceans, plant sprawling forests, and create the ideal habitat for animals to call home. Then recycle your buildings and leave no trace that you were there.

Body of Mine VR (Won: Best XR4C Experience, Nominated: Most Innovative)

Platforms: Meta Quest 2

Developer: Cameron Kostopoulos

Body of Mine is a full-body immersive experience that allows you to inhabit the body of another gender to interact with your skin to discover stories and interviews of trans people.

Gerda:  A Flame in Winter (Won: Best Narrative)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows

Developer: PortaPlay

You have five days to save your husband, who the Gestapo has just arrested. Investigate, explore and form allegiances in this story-rich RPG-lite. Gerda’s journey will involve moral dilemmas, difficult conversations, and sticky situations. It’s a dangerous world, and you must help her adapt to it with your choices, which always have short- and long-term consequences. 

(val)iant (Won: Best Student Game)

Platforms: Microsoft Windows

Developer: Cactus Studio

(val)iant is a single-player narrative game about pelvic pain. play as val, a nonbinary college student struggling with their relationship with their body and their relationship with sex. this game is fundamentally about how we as a society learn (or don't learn) about sex.

Who’s Lila? (Nominated: Best Student Game)

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems

Developer: Garage Heathen

Who's Lila is a point-and-click adventure where you manually control the character's face instead of choosing dialogue options. Life’s never been easy for William, but today is special – a girl named Tanya Kennedy suddenly goes missing, and the only thing Will's friends know – he was the one to see her last. Will you remain secretive and make William act like nothing happened, or will you let true emotions show through his mask?

Go Nisha Go (Won: Best Learning Game)

Platform: Android

Publisher: Howard Delafield International, LLP

The Go Nisha Go is a role-playing game that aims to empower adolescent girl game players to become active decision-makers in their own lives, especially when it comes to becoming better equipped to make decisions and achieving positive health, safety, career, and educational outcomes.

Luna’s Light (Won: Best Health Game)

Developer: ImpactVR

Luna's Light is an enchanting adventure designed for upper limb rehabilitation. With an immersive fantasy world and an enchanted bow as your tool, it offers an engaging way to carry out therapy at home. Co-designed with physiotherapists/patients, the game's intuitive mechanics combine therapy with captivating gameplay. Luna's Light transforms painful rehabilitation into an enjoyable and effective experience.

Kinder World (Nominated: Best Health Game)

Platforms: Android, iOS

Developer: Lumi interactive

Kinder World is an emotional well-being app designed to help users build resilience and explore their emotions. Take care of virtual houseplants in a judgment-free environment by completing scientifically-backed well-being activities for a few minutes twice daily.

Cat Park (Won: Best Civics Game)

Platforms: Website, Mobile

Developer: Tilt Studio

In Cat Park, your city is building a park just for cats. Your goal is to stop that from happening. Using disinformation tactics like emotional language and polarisation, you turn the public against the park! Cat Park aims to proactively educate about common disinformation techniques so that players are better prepared to spot fake news no matter what form it takes.

I Was a Teenage Exocolonist (Won: Best Gameplay)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, Mac operating systems

Developer: Northway Games

Spend your teenage years on an alien planet in this narrative RPG with card-based battles. Explore, grow up, and fall in love. The choices you make and skills you master over ten years will determine the course of your life and your colony's survival.

The Wandering Village (Nominated: Best Gameplay)

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac operating systems

Developer: Stray Fawn

In a world where mysterious plants are spreading all over the earth, emitting toxic spores as they grow, a small group of survivors seeks shelter on the back of a giant, wandering creature they call 'Onbu'. Become their leader, build their settlement, and form a symbiotic relationship with Onbu to survive in this hostile, beautiful, post-apocalyptic world.

SHASN (Won: Best Tabletop Game for Impact)

Platform: Board Game

Developer: Zain Memon

SHASN is an epic game of politics, ethics, and strategy. 2-5 players take on the role of politicians competing in a national election. As they build their political personas, players must answer tough policy questions, manage resources, influence voters, and outmanoeuvre each other to secure power.

A Rise of Environmental Games

We’ve also loved the introduction and continuation of support for environmental-themed games this year. Environmental games help promote important ecological discussions through play and can help raise more awareness of the impact of human activities on the planet. It is a vital conversation that should be had, and games help communicate these concepts to new audiences. 

You can learn more about how environmental games are vital to current climate conversations in our blog - The Importance of Environmental Games and the Future of Sustainable Gaming 

Once again, CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners and to another year of making impactful experiences! 🎊