Jane McGonigal, Jenova Chan, and More to Keynote 11th Annual Games For Change Festival

Organizers of the 11th annual Games For Change Festival announced today an impressive line-up of keynote speakers scheduled to appear during the event scheduled to take place in New York City April 22 – 24 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Last month organizers announced that this year's event will run in tandem with the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival. Headlining the Games For Change Festival will be academics, authors, researchers, and award-winning game designers.

The list of keynote speakers includes Jane McGonigal, PhD, an award-winning game designer, Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, author of the New York Times’ bestselling book, "Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World," and co-founder of SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than 250,000 players tackle real-life health challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury; legendary indie developer Jenova Chan, who was the chief designer of such hit games as Cloud, flOw, Flower, and Journey while at thatgamecompany; and games industry veteran Noah Falstein, who is currently serving as Chief Game Designer at Google.

Other speakers who will be delivering tailored presentations at this year's event include Dan Ariely, PhD, a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of The New York Times’ bestsellers "Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality," and "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty"; Adam Gazzaley, PhD, founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the UC San Francisco, an Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, a Principal Investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory – and most recently, writer and host of the nationally televised PBS-sponsored special "The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley; Deborah Estrin, PhD, a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City, Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College, and co-founder of the non-profit startup Open mHealth; and Zoran Popovic, PhD, an Associate Professor in computer science at University of Washington. and a principle in creating and producing the biochemistry game Foldit.

Other speakers scheduled to appear include Molleindustria founder Paolo Pedercini, Tiltfactor Lab director Mary Flanagan, "That Dragon, Cancer" designer Josh Larson, and Dean Karlan, World expert in developmental economics at Yale University.

This year's Games for Change Festival will also feature a public design challenge for an interactive game related to the SpaceIL mission, sponsored by the Schusterman Family Foundation. Designers are challenged to create a game that captures "comprehensive real-world data that will enable Space IL, an Israel-based nonprofit organization that is a frontrunner in the Google Lunar X Prize, to land a spacecraft on the moon by 2015."

Since the most crucial part in designing a spacecraft is apparently the fuel used to transport the small rocket to the moon, the game needs to be able to teach the SpaceIL team about "potential new designs and orbits from online players that were able to land a virtual spaceship in the game." Three finalists will present their ideas on stage in front of attendees, potential funders, and a juried panel, with the winning team receiving a grand prize of $25,000. The winning team will also have the opportunity to collaborate further with SpaceIL on their mission to the moon.

The Games For Change Festival is part of the Tribeca Innovation Week, which offers passes and single event tickets to a variety of different events and activities related to film, creativity, technology, and gaming.

The event will run daily from 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. EST, with an opening night party on April 22. Tickets are currently on sale online at www.tribecafilm.com/gamesforchange.

For more details on all the activities at this year's event, including more details on all of this year's scheduled speakers, check out gamesforchange.org/festival.

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