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Games for Change president on going 'beyond the gaming industry'

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For the first time since its birth 11 years ago, the Games for Change Festival was held as part of this year's Tribeca Film Festival, which, according to the organization's president, Asi Burak, is what encouraged G4C to invite a diverse lineup of keynote speakers, ones that go "beyond the gaming industry."

"Because of the partnership with Tribeca we’ve invited speakers that are beyond the gaming industry," Burak told Examiner. "So this year there’s a range of speakers that are coming from science, from medicine, from brain research. A lot of places that are using game thinking but they’re not necessarily game makers. So I think that the partnership with Tribeca kind of opened our eyes to say, ‘oh wait, this is a conversation that is beyond making games, it’s a conversation about how games are now a part of our life, from every aspect.' Top researchers in the world are using games to advance the solutions to problems they couldn’t solve in any other way, so that’s a conversation that is new to the festival.

"I think on the side of Tribeca, I think that the innovation week idea, until now Tribeca, the brand is Tribeca Film Festival, but it’s for the first time in a big way they’re saying, ‘no, we have much more than that, we have content that is about technology and innovation, the future of film.' It brings people from different perspectives: hackers, gamers, innovators, filmmakers, it’s a very kind of proud innovation that wasn’t there before in such a big way."

A few memorable speakers from this week's events were award-winning game designer and New York Times' bestselling author Jane McGonigal, who visually described what she felt the games of 2024 would be like; Digital Projects Officer at UN-Habitat, Pontus Westerberg, who explained how Minecraft is helping to revolutionize building projects; and Lead Game Designer at GlassLab Erin Hoffman, who discussed how their studio provides a model to accelerate the research and development as well as distribution of educational games.

Tomorrow G4C will hold a public day, featuring a public arcade, life-sized bubbles in a bubble garden and ESPN activities as well as live music and more.

The Games for Change Festival was held from April 22-24.

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