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Life Is Strange; That Dragon, Cancer; Among Games For Change Awards Finalists

by Jeff Cork on Jun 02, 2016 at 05:10 AM

The Games for Change Festival is holding its 13th annual event this year, and the nonprofit has announced the list of finalists for its 2016 Games for Change Awards. There are a few recognizable names among them, as well as some titles you may not have heard of before.

Life is Strange leads the finalists, with three nominations, followed by That Dragon, Cancer, which has two. This year's event is being held at New York's Parsons School of Design on June 23-24. It features keynote speakers including Sid Meier (Firaxis Games), Graeme Devine (Trilobyte), and Christopher Weaver (Bethesda Softworks). For more information about the event, visit the official site

The finalists for the 2016 Games for Change Awards are follows (with descriptor text from the organization):

Block’hood, nominated for Best Gameplay
Block’hood is a neighborhood-building sandbox game that presents an ecological take on city planning. Celebrating the diversity of cities, the game invites players into a narrative that builds an understanding of resource dependencies and empathy for the neighborhoods we live in.

DragonBox Numbers, nominated for Best Learning Game
DragonBox Numbers gives children who are at the outset of their math education the foundation they need in order to succeed: a strong sense of numbers and fluency with addition and counting.

Life is Strange, nominated for Best Gameplay, Most Significant Impact, and Most Innovative
Life is Strange is a five-part episodic experience that sets out to revolutionize story-based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present, and future. The game handles identity, bullying, suicide, teen pregnancy, love, friendship and everyday dilemmas alongside moments of adventure. 

Lumino City (iOS), nominated for Most Innovative
Lumino City (iOS) is a game crafted entirely by hand out of paper, card, miniature lights, and motors – resulting in the construction of a 10 foot high model city. In this setting weaves an enthralling adventure. Lumi’s grandfather has been kidnapped, and to find him you must embrace sustainable living practices and navigate the mechanisms that power this world.

Mission US: City of Immigrants, nominated for Best Learning Game
Mission US: City of Immigrants is the fourth in a series of free digital role-playing games made to immerse students in U.S. history. Players assume the role of a Russian Jewish teen who immigrates to NYC in 1907 and joins the growing labor movement.

NOVA’s Evolution Lab, nominated for Best Learning Game
NOVA’s Evolution Lab is a puzzle game and interactive tree of life that challenges players to build phylogenetic trees, complete missions based off of the evidence for evolution, and explore the connections between over 70,000 species.

Legião dos Super Poderes, nominated for Most Significant Impact
Legião dos Super Poderes is a game designed to change kids’ habits by mixing the real and virtual worlds. Children have to eat healthier and practice physical activities to gain superpowers in-game, evolving their heroes and defeating all enemies.

That Dragon, Cancer, nominated for Best Gameplay and Most Innovative
That Dragon, Cancer is an immersive, narrative video game that retells Joel Green’s four-year fight against cancer through about two hours of poetic, imaginative gameplay that explores themes of faith, hope, and love.

Syrian Journey, nominated for Most Significant Impact
Syrian Journey is a digital project that explores the plight of the Syrian refugees. By choosing their own escape route in a newsgame, the audience takes their own personal dramatic and heart-wrenching journey to face dilemmas based on real-life stories.

Our Take
This is a nice blend of bigger names and games that you might only see in a classroom. The roster is another reminder that games are more than just what you see on store shelves.