Playing 4 Keeps

[conf] GK at the GLS! 

This morning Global Kids ran a half-hour teen panel (our second this summer) at the Games, Learning and Society Conference. Read the official panel description from the program here.

The panel was composed of two Global Kids leaders - Jonathan from Playing 4 Keeps and Angela from the Virtual Video Project - and a third teen, Lane, whom we know from Second Life (and whom we were excited to learn would be the conference). In addition, we worked with two teens in Second Life to speak.

After an activity in which audience members received one of six trading cards about various GK programs (and met each other to create full collections and learn about the programs) each teen presented.

Jonathan spoke about making a game in Second Life, CONSENT!, about unethical medical prison research (read his own account of his experience here.) Angela spoke about using Second Life to create machinima about obesity and then child soldiers in Uganda (read her great description here ). Lane then spoke about his anti-adult presence activities in Second Life life and how that led to a major policy change by Linden Lab read some of his thoughts).

[p4k/teen] What I did at the GLS Conference 

I had a great experience at the 2007 GLS conference. GLS stands for Games, Learning and Society. This conference is a place in which many professionals discuss games and things surrounding them. These people discussed many things like the philosophy of games, how to do surveys about games and so on.

At this conference in a teen panel I and two other students named Angela and Lane discussed about our activities in Second Life and in Global Kids. Angela and I were a part of Global Kids while Lane never got involved in Global Kids but was involved in second life. I discussed the game Consent which focuses on prison experimentation. Angela spoke about her Machinima program which dealt with child soldiers. At first while presenting I was overwhelmed and felt shy, but as I answered the questions I began to feel very confident.

[Press] Video games getting deeper 

A great piece was posted Friday in the Toronto Star, entitled Video Games Getting Deeper, featuring our recent teen panel at the Games for Change conference and spotlighted Global Kids Playing 4 Keeps program and our game Ayiti: The Cost of Life.

You can read the full article below or here.

Video games getting deeper

A new generation of games aims to help youth better understand the world

June 15, 2007

Jane L. Thompson
Special to the Star

New York–Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and Need for Speed may consume the attention of millions of teenagers, but according to a U.S. high school valedictorian, gaming has sparked a new revolution where students are becoming smarter as a result of video games.

But Ciara Bell, 18, a graduate of McKinley High School in Washington, D.C., isn't talking about games where you shoot the driver of a car before you snatch it. She's referring to games like PeaceMaker, Darfur is Dying and Ayiti: The Cost of Life, some of the award-winners this week at the Games for Change Festival.


561 Broadway New York, NY 10012 212-226-0130


Jonah Kokodyniak, Global Kids, 212-226-2116,
Tom Mariam, Mariam Communications, 914-939-4294,

For Immediate Release:


At the fourth annual Games For Change Festival, held June 11-12 at the Parson’s New School of Design in New York City, Global Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating urban youth in international issues, won one of the first Games for Change ("GaCha") Awards for the best games for change made over the past few years. Global Kids's game Ayiti: The Cost of Life, created by students in Brooklyn in partnership with game development company, Gamelab, was awarded best awareness-raising game, for "the game that best raises awareness of an important social issue through engaging and meaningful gameplay."

[sl] Major GK Events at the Games For Change Confernce 

So much to report from the Games For Change conference in New York City!

Global Kids Wins Award

Global Kids was thrilled to be awarded one of the top game prizes of the conference, the GaCha award. The game from our Playing 4 Keeps program, Ayiti: The Cost of Life, was awarded the best Awareness-Raising Game. We couldn't be more pleased. We accepted the award with our students and folks from GameLab. Afi French gave a very moving acceptance speech that left quite a few in tears.

    Best Awareness-Raising Game - for the game that best raises awareness of an important social issue through engaging and meaningful gameplay coupled with innovative and successful distribution techniques towards a broad reach.

    Criteria: Is it a good game, with good game play and a solid integration of game mechanic and content? How did this game reach new audiences, find innovative distribution avenues, and ultimately raise awareness for a particular cause? Tips: These are often low budget games, made in a grass roots context, virally distributed.

Beth Kanter posted this photo of Lithelson holding the award:

Global Kids Coordinates Teen Panelists

[P4k] Plans for next year 

During the year in p4k the group studied how to make different things for our characters in second life.

Something that went well for me personally was the fact we got to learn more about different issues and created a game around that problem. We also spoke out in a recording regarding the issue.

I learned things from game design like creating your details on paper first and many different ways you can make a character in second life.

This year I learned about global issue like racism, education, health, and media issues.

In the program I think people should have more kids discussing their own point of view in how to create a game.

In the future I think I can put more thought to the specific problem and to stay longer in the program.

[p4k] Digital Refinery at work 

Digital Refinery, the teen-led Second Life development company, is hard at work creating the game for the Playing 4 Keeps program. Isn't that crane sweet?

Digital Refinery building the Playing 4 Keeps game

[P4K] Last class 

Today was the last P4K class at South Shore.

We asked the students some questions to get their feedback on the various aspects of the program and what they thought they learned during the course of the year -
1. What went well during the year in P4K for the group?
2. What went well during the year in P4K for you personally?
3. What did you learn this year about games and game design?
4. What did you learn this year about global and social issues?
5. What leadership skills did you learn?
6. What could be done differently in the program next year?
7. What could you do differently in the future?

Click on the links to see what Tashawna, Sanji, Vladimyr, Jonathon and Syndie had to say.

[P4K] My last week in Playing 4 Keeps 

I, Jonathan Laurent, had a great time at this program. We had a lot of successes in this program. I got to interact with fellow students. We learned about social issues such as prison experimentation. Global Kids has allowed people to take initiative and to express their ideas. The students have had their creativity increase. However lack of computers is what hindered us in our task. The programs brings awareness to issues by creating games that are fun but also creates a learning experience. We learned about Games and their design. Our co-teacher, Radhika, taught us the philosophy of games. Through this program I learned to express myself and to have concern for issues of others.

[p4k] A year in p4k 

1) I think our group bonded and had good chemistry.
2) I learned how to work with other people and create games.
3) I learned the process it takes to create games and you need patience. The global issues I learned was racism, sexism, and illegal practices on male prisoners.
4) In leadership skills I learned what it takes to speak out and how to motivate others.
5) What could be done differently is to have better computers that go fast.
6) In the future I could be more devoted to the program.