Pixel Arts organizes community collaborations for social good. We launched this initiative with the support of local game developer groups including the Portland Indie Game Squad, PAGDIG, Portland Games for Change and SIGGRAPH. Our goal is to reduce barriers of access to game development for non-profits and non-governmental organizations. Our only requirement to work with a group is that they are open, accessible and non-discriminatory.

BarCamp Portland 6: Indie Video Game Showcase and Crowd Funding Jam

March 30th, 2012, Hosted with the Portland Indie Game Squad and BarCamp Portland.

In February, video game company Double Fine Adventure asked fans to support their new game by contributing $400,000. After only twelve hours, pledges exceeded $1 million. After less than 30 days, their game became the most funded project in Kickstarter history with over 87 thousand backers contributing more than $3.3 million. In total, they had reached 834% of their funding goal (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66710809/double-fine-adventure).

Double Fine Adventure’s success has generated massive excitement among indie developers & gamers everywhere. Instead of needing loans or credit, creators are finding new opportunities through our vibrant global community. At BarCamp Portland 6, we showcase indie video games and explore crowd funding models. The goal of our event is to help local developers and entrepreneurs prototype their projects and discover best practices for crowd funding.

Gaming for Social Good Panel

June 21st, 2012, Hosted with PDXTech4Good

As the use of video games becomes more pervasive--think Angry Birds to Farmville to Wii Fitness--it becomes useful to consider their wider impact on our lives. Are they merely useful for entertainment, or can games help create change through creativity, imagination and play? Can games be valuable for mission-based groups like non-profits, NGOs and community organizations? How can game development connect students to real-world problems?

Our panel discussion includes speakers at the intersection of gaming and game development for education, non-profit enablement and youth outreach. Our panelists explore how gaming and the creation of games can positively impact our local communities and wider world mission-based efforts.

  • Keld Bangsberg, Academic Department Director at the Art Institute of Portland including Game Art & Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual & Game Programming, and Design Visualization.
  • Chris Brooks, VP of Technology at WebMD and Director at TechStart Education Foundation, which hosts the Oregon Game Project Challenge.
  • Scott Crabtree, HappyBrainScience. Video game designer, producer, and entrepreneur with over 10 years of professional experience managing the development of video games and has published games on PCs, consoles and the iPhone.
  • Jason Galbraith, Robotics and Programming Instructor at Sunset High School, Saturday Academy Instructor and coach for the Oregon Game Project Challenge.

Guts for Glory: A Gaming for Social Good Summit

October 18-21st, 2012

Our first crowd sourcing event to make games for non-profits and NGOs. The event was split between two components, a kick off panel and then a game jam.

Opening Panel

Hosted at the 4th Annual Emergent Learning Commonsconference with support by
Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning Special Interest Group

"Collaborative Game Development for Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations"

Presenters: Valerie Egan, Brandon Bozzi, Corvus Elrod, David Galiel and Wolfgang Wozniak

How can we create community based game development for social good? Hackathons and game jams often suffer from top-down approaches led by technology rather than the needs of users and clients. We flip this by inviting NPOs and NGOs to share their missions, goals and challenges; and, one of our case studies comes from Donate Life Northwest, an organ donation non-profit seeking to update their video game Scalpel Pal.

Our panel explores ways to approach the challenges of these NPOs and NGOs through game-based design perspectives. In doing so, they discuss how we can leverage community to crowdsource solutions through game jams and other social practices for collaboration. Following the conference, we hosted a 3 day startup game jam to develop games tailored to the needs of participating organizations.

Startup Game Jam: Build teams and move from concept to prototype in 3 days.

Hosted at ISITE Design
OD Start Screen.png
In a 20-hour challenge over three days, game developers created a game prototype for the purpose of furthering the goals of a Portland 501(c)(3) non-for-profit organization! We worked with Donate Life Northwest to a create a game prototype dedicated to aiding the mission of "saving and enhancing lives through organ, eye and tissue donotion."

The Game Jam focused on creating a deliverable for Donate Life Northwest in the long run; the event was set in a production environment, allowing developers to consider aspects of game development such as budgeting, client input, marketing, and their own quality of life on a day-to-day basis.

OD Hospital Event.pngOD School.png

At the end of the jam, our team of game changers proposed developing a "community organizer" simulator. The goal is to help reduce the organ donor waiting list by increasing the number of potential donors through basic tasks: recruiting volunteers, increasing enthusiasm, raising money and providing education about the 10 myths of organ donation. We are currently developing the concept into a playable short-demo to prototype and play test the game mechanics.