Games for Change reveals the winners of the best video and XR games of 2021

Ustwo Games’ Alba: A Wildlife Adventure was crowned this year’s Games for Game of the Year Change as well as Most Significant Impact. Overlord by Torpor Games received the annual People’s Choice Award (presented by Facebook Gaming). The winners were announced tonight at the Games for Change 2021 virtual festival awards ceremony.

This year’s awards are the most competitive and global in Festival history – with over 200 entries in six categories: Best Gameplay, Most Innovative, Most Meaningful Impact, Best Learning Game, the best student game and the best XR for change.

“The Games for Change 2021 finalists feature a wide range of developers representing 11 countries,” said Susanna Pollack, President of Games for Change. “These winning games exemplify the ever-expanding world of social impact and XR games and push the needle forward on what storytelling and game mechanics look like.”

Games for Change 2021 Award Winners

Game of the Year, Most Significant Impact – Alba: A Wildlife Adventure (ustwo games)
Alba is a game of small stakes: a little girl on a small island. But the underlying challenge is the relationship between humans and nature. Alba’s real fight is against apathy, as she is responsible for saving the island, nature and its wildlife.

The team behind Alba: A Wildlife Adventure has partnered with various partners and initiatives to improve the planet, such as in their efforts to plant 1 million trees as part of a restoration effort in Madagascar and their mission to inspire 1 billion citizens to reduce their carbon pollution. Ustwo Games is also part of the Playing for the Planet Alliance, highlighting its commitment to harness the power of games and gamers to take action against the global climate crisis.

Most Innovative and Best Gameplay – Lost Words: Beyond the Page (Sketchbook Games)
Lost Words is an atmospheric puzzle game starring a story by famous game writer Rhianna Pratchett. The game takes place within the pages of a young girl’s diary and sees players use words to solve puzzles based on their meaning and make choices that help shape the story.

Sketchbook Games’ debut game, Lost Words: Beyond the Page, is a multi-award winning atmospheric puzzle set between the pages of a journal and a fantasy land. The game ties the narrative to the gameplay in an unusual way by making the player run and interact with words to solve puzzles.

Best Learning Game – Wednesday (Gambridzy)
Wednesday is a point-and-click 3D adventure game about the story of Japanese military comfort women during WWII. Travel through time with “Suni” as she fulfills her lifelong dream, collecting evidence and solving puzzles to successfully save her friends.

Gambridzy is a Korean games studio that challenges prejudice against games and creates games that have a positive impact on society. After its creation in 2016, they developed After Days dealing with the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Gambrizdy believes that conveying messages through games can change reality and lead to player action.

Best XR Experience for Change – Quadcade (MICA Game Lab)
The Quadcade is a collaborative project between the MICA Game Lab, the Maryland Blended Reality Center, and the Shock Trauma Unit at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The objective of the project is to research and explore how virtual reality games can be used to rehabilitate severe spinal cord injuries.

Working closely with physician, researcher and patient partners, they designed a suite of VR games played with commercial VR hardware and the Quadstick, a joystick designed for people with quadriplegia.

Best student game РSYNDESI (SYNDESI Team, Produced by L̩a Pernot & Adrien Daugy from ISART DIGITAL)
Play as a nomad living on the shell of the mighty Ni’lah, the giant creature that accompanies you. Travel through a vast desert, explore the world, and trade with merchant towns to find new resources.

Fifteen talented ISART DIGITAL students worked together to create SYNDESI, a non-violent open world experience that aims to immerse the player in a calming and expansive environment.

G4C People’s Choice Award – Overlord by Torpor Games
As President Rayne, lead Sordland into ruin or repair during your first term in this text-based role-playing game. Navigate political drama driven by conversations with members of your cabinet and other important figures. Beware or embrace corruption; shirk or defend ideals. How are you going to lead?

Torpor Games was founded in 2017 by a tight-knit group of friends brought together by their mutual appreciation for meaningful connections. Combining a wide variety of disciplines and experience with a dedication to pursuing creation through play, the team of five is on a mission to produce thought-provoking entertainment. Overlord will be their first title and will demonstrate their desire to question reality through video games.

Other special recognitions
In addition to the best of video game and the 2021 XR, the Games for Change awards ceremony also recognized Mark Barlet as the winner of the Vanguard Award, Niantic for Industry Leadership Award and Games Done Quick for G4C Giving. Award.