Wednesday, January 28, 2009

AMD Releases New Toolkit For Social Issue Games

amd logoAMD this week announced the availability of Let the Games Begin: A Toolkit 4 Making Social Issue Games, which helps nonprofit organizations to create social issue games on such topics as the environment, energy consumption, poverty and health. Produced by Games for Change with support from the AMD Foundation's AMD Changing the Game initiative, the toolkit includes examples of successful games with social content as well as in-depth presentations by key game-design experts. The toolkit is free of charge and available at

The mission of AMD Changing the Game is to take gaming beyond entertainment and inspire youth to learn critical education and life skills by equipping them to create digital games with social content. The program focuses on 13 to 18-year-olds and emphasizes enriching the educational experience of disadvantaged youth.

AMD Changing the Game has created excellent opportunities for students to express their views on the world while learning important life skills through the experience of creating digital games,” said Allyson Peerman, president of the AMD Foundation. “The Let The Games Begin toolkit is an important resource to inform and educate organizations that are interested in using games as a medium for communicating about important social issues.”

The AMD Foundation launched AMD Changing the Game in June 2008. The initiative is designed to apply AMD’s microprocessor and graphics processing power to digital game development, helping to educate young people and effect positive social change in an increasingly technology-driven society. The program was launched as part of AMD’s sponsorship and participation at the Fifth Annual Games for Change Festival in New York City. Also as part of that festival, the AMD Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation co-funded “Let the Games Begin,” a day-long workshop for nonprofit organizations that featured presentations and brainstorming sessions by some of the nation’s leading authorities on social issue game development and covered fundamentals such as game design, fundraising, evaluation, youth participation, distribution and press strategies.

AMD Changing the Game capitalizes on the dynamic entertainment and educational potential of digital gaming. By working with nonprofit organizations, foundations and other companies, AMD Changing the Game uses digital game design to teach disadvantaged youth essential STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and life skills. The Let the Games Begin toolkit will help broaden the scope of this program and bring social issue gaming to youth across the country.

“Digital games are powerful tools used to engage youth and adults in some of the most pressing social issues we face today. We are excited to unveil the Let the Games Begin toolkit with AMD to help more organizations incorporate digital games in their efforts to make the world a better place,” said Alex Quinn, executive director of Games for Change.

AMD Changing the Game Milestones to Date
The AMD Foundation’s AMD Changing the Game initiative has already seen great success with several nonprofit groups across the U.S.:
  • Girlstart is an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization created to empower middle- and high-school girls to excel in math, science, and technology. AMD funded a summer camp that enabled 40 high school juniors to examine gender issues in gaming and explore the power of video games to effect social change.
  • Global Kids is a New York City-based nonprofit organization that seeks to transform urban youth into successful students and community leaders. Through its grant to Global Kids’ Playing for Keeps program, AMD joined The Microsoft Corporation in enabling 20 youth from underserved communities to work with game developers to develop, create and distribute a socially conscious game, Tempest in Crescent City ( ). The game focuses on how citizens responded to disaster situations during Hurricane Katrina.
  • Institute for Urban Game Design is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization teaching science, technology, engineering and math skills through the hands-on creation of digital games. AMD’s grant enabled 40 McKinley high school students to apply their learning in 3-D modeling, animation and computer programming to develop games focused on the issue of energy usage
  • Science Buddies is a national, non-profit organization based in California's Silicon Valley offering a variety of web-based tools that help K-12 students explore science through research-based projects often done at science fairs and other school and community events. The AMD Changing the Game grant has enabled Science Buddies to launch a video and computer games interest area on its site aimed at helping students understand and practice what is required to design digital games.

AMD is also working with PETLab, a joint project of Games for Change and Parsons The New School, to create a Game Design and Animation Curriculum for youth. The curriculum is expected to be available to educators in 2009.

For more information, including a video and other materials, see AMD Changing the Game.

Source: AMD Press Release

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