Gaming for Change

March 14, 2016


Tim McClimon

According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), nearly one half of all Americans play video games. The ESA's 2015 report found gaming to be particularly popular among Millennials, showing that 56% of the U.S. gamer population is under the age of 35, with 30% falling between 18 and 35.

While the image of gaming is often associated with fantasy environments and alternative realities, there is a growing movement to use games to educate and engage people about real-world issues and to facilitate social action.

Founded in 2004, Games for Change (G4C) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and distribution of social impact games that serve humanitarian, social and educational efforts. The organization is best known for its role in producing "Half the Sky Movement: The Game" a companion game to the bestselling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, written by Pulitzer Prize winning husband-and-wife team Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

As part of our commitment to helping U.S. National Parks recruit the next generation of volunteers, American Express partnered with Games for Change to develop and distribute a social impact game – SAVE THE PARK – highlighting the critical role volunteers play as caretakers of the parks. (With oversight for more than 400 national parks, monuments, and historic sites in all 50 U.S. states, each year the National Park Service engages over 440,000 volunteers who help conserve and preserve America's natural and cultural heritage.)

SAVE THE PARK, a mobile game app now available for download in the Apple App Store, seeks to inspire and encourage a new generation of park lovers to take an active role in helping preserve these important natural and historic resources for future generations. In the game, players control two characters – a national park volunteer and a Junior Ranger – who work together in three unique park environments to protect animal habitats, plant trees, maintain trails, collect research specimens, help park visitors, and more!

Players can:

  • Be all four volunteer characters – Environment Champion, Wildlife Lover, Citizen Scientist and Culture Concierge – each representing a different type of volunteer.
  • Learn about the national parks through in-game fun facts.
  • Connect to the site to explore local volunteer opportunities.
  • Unlock a collection of socially sharable national park postcards by finding special Easter Eggs
  • Share their game accomplishments through social media.

SAVE THE PARK is family-friendly, and suitable for all ages. To learn more about the game check out this video.

To drive additional resources to the cause, the American Express Foundation will make a $1 donation to the National Park Foundation for each download of SAVE THE PARK occurring on or before December 31, 2016, up to $50,000. The donation will support NPF's park conservation and stewardship work.

So, if you think you have what it takes to SAVE THE PARK, click the button below to download, play and share the game with your park loving friends!


  If you have a question or comment, please follow me on Twitter at @timmcclimon and start a conversation there. Thanks for reading and sharing this blog posting with friends and colleagues.

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