Game Save!

Author: | Posted in Uncategorized No comments

I know this is a bit out of the norm for this site, but as it IS building something outside standard systems, I suppose that's a sort of Steampunk, right? Just instead of atoms, we're using bits. – Willow

GameSave is a 5-week competition in which teams build a demo and working concept for a game which addresses disaster mitigation.

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about games and their meaning. Can games be art? Can games be educational? Are they merely escapist? Regardless of the manner in which these matters are debated, and the examples cited, it really comes down to one answer to all of these questions: It depends on the game.

Good is relative. Sometimes, it’s “good” if games can be used to teach maths to a child who is struggling at school. Sometimes it’s “good” if games can merely provide a bit of distraction for an overworked assistant.

But what if we could use a game to mitigate natural disasters?

To that end, GameSave!

. . . 


GameSave is a hack-a-thon style event which takes place over the course of 5 weeks, during which multiple teams of game developers and emergency relief professionals will each create a complete game concept and working demo aimed at an aspect of disaster relief. Teams can be assembled in several ways. A team can be composed of independent individuals who organize themselves initially through our registration site and wiki. Teams can also be sponsored as a unit by their respective employers.

There will be an organization and planning period where team members will be expected to communicate with one another via the wiki and by whatever other methods they so choose.

Ideally, teams will meet for a intensive hack-a-thon session in Seattle, Washington where they will meet with disaster relief personnel for vital information, as well has have sequestered time for the bulk of the build. When the hack-a-thon is up, teams will return to their homes and continue to collaborate and polish their concept for submission. Participation is possible even if travel is not, because all location-specific happenings and presentations will be livestreamed.

Additionally, travel scholarships will become increasingly available to qualified participants as sponsorship allows.

Each concept/demo will be judged by a panel of experts in the fields of game design and emergency management.


We need your help! Post about us, tweet about us, and let us know what questions you’d like us to answer! We know that this project can succeed, but we need to tell as many people about it as possible. The more sponsorship resources we can offer, the more teams we can support financially, and the more robust the competition will be.

For more details, please see our FAQ. Inquiries towards general donations can be directed to our main site, and are tax deductible through School Factory. We also have a Kickstarter to help fund the exhibition portion of the event!


Game companies, designers, developers, artists, and anyone who believes that gaming is more than mindless entertainment. There is nothing wrong with mindless entertainment, of course! But we believe that games can also be an incredibly powerful resource that can be harnessed for real life problem-solving. This idea has been discussed among the gaming community for some time, but it has recently been brought further into the public eye by President Obama’s recent call for the expansion of education technology into the realm of video games. GameSave has already received an enthusiastic response from Thomas Kalil, the associate director of Science and Technology Policy for the White House.


The real question is “Why not?”.

The past few years have shown us that, despite the fact that human technological advancements have increased exponentially over our species’ collective lifespan, Mother Nature is still the Final Boss of our planet. We may have robot vacuums, cruise ships that hold entire cities, and the capability to launch ourselves into space, but recent events demonstrate that hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis are still utterly devastating, and something over which we have no control whatsoever.

Japan was probably more prepared for the recent earthquake and its aftermath than any other locale in the world. The government established geological research initiatives as far back as the 1800s, and building codes are thorough and rigorous, yet and earthquake of this magnitude still caused tragic loss of life and massive structural damage.

Imagine the magnitude of destruction if such a thing were to happen along the west coast of the United States, knowing that this region of the world is far less prepared in terms of both emergency management and foresight in architectural codes. Then consider that historically, there is a shifting along the Cascadia Subduction Zoneevery 240-250 years, capable of producing a “megaquake” of magnitudes in excess of 9.2. The last one was in 1700. We are overdue and unprepared.


The hack-a-thon build session will happen in Seattle, WA in late June of 2011. The awards ceremony and reception will be in San Francisco, CA mid July. Yes, we know. That is really soon, and we do not yet have final dates. However, we promise that any dates associated with this event will not directly conflict with E3 or PAX Prime.

Also, it is possible to participate in GameSave even if not in the area. We have a wiki for the purpose of helping team members communicate, and serves as the main hub of team organization. While we are working to fund travel scholarships for both devs and press, this is largely dependent upon sponsorship levels. In the meantime, all location-specific events will be livestreamed and made available to all who are interested.

Please feel free to respond with any questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing from you!