October 7, 2015
Emily Treat, Games for Change
As a game developer, how do you engage a user as a player, to not just play but to learn and truly transform? When the goal is to inform and expand an individual’s views and understanding about important political events and social issues, the game totally changes – especially when the audience may range from restless child to jaded adult. As VP, Production Services, for Games for Change (G4C), Emily Treat regularly facilitates the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve as critical tools in humanitarian and educational efforts. G4C aims to leverage entertainment and engagement for social good. To further grow the field, G4C convenes multiple stakeholders, highlights best practices, incubates games, and helps create and direct investment into new projects. The annual Games For Change Festival, which recently joined the Tribeca Film Festival, is now NYC’s largest gaming event – evidence that developing games for change is itself a changing and growing field. So, can a game really change us? Yes – but, to create one that does so with finesse is another story. Come hear from Emily Treat, an expert game design instructor, game development advisor and game interaction designer, about behind-the-scenes techniques for creating games that really make a difference in the world.
About the Speaker
Beginning her career at LeapFrog, Emily worked on a range of e-learning platforms and products for children and teens. She next worked as coordinator of the Scratch software and online community at the MIT Media Lab, produced learning games for 360KID, and worked in Kaplan Inc.’s international office in London as lead designer and producer of an expansive online virtual world for language learning. Along the way, Emily has also spent time volunteering as a game design instructor in youth after school and community programs.
Working as a VP of Production Services, Emily is extending her expertise to oversee social impact game projects at the Games for Change Lab. Drawing from her designer-producer background, she works closely with impact partners, designers, developers, and other team members to produce and advise on high-quality games that meet the standards and mission of Games for Change.
Emily leads development on Half the Sky Movement: The Game (Facebook) as well as three accompanying mobile phone games – collaborating throughout with writers, designers, developers, content experts, filmmakers, external partners, and funders to oversee and execute all stages of game design and development for the transmedia movement.
Emily also supports new programs and initiatives, enabling a range of cause owners to learn more about the social impact games space and leverage their investment. She has provided strategic consulting to organizations such as AARP, T. Rowe Price, and Heifer International to guide them through the game development process. Through workshops, advising, and structured brainstorming activities, Emily works with each organization to define their unique goals, brainstorm gameplay, create a strategic plan, and explore key funding and distribution considerations.
In addition to her background producing games for learning, Emily has advised projects for a range of sectors, including health care, finance, gender equality, sustainable energy, military, sexual health, retirement planning, and maternal health. She served as project adviser for students at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, taught game design at New York Film Academy, and has presented at technical conferences such as AAAS, TIFF, SIGCSE, and Grace Hopper.
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