NZGDA and the US Embassy partner for gaming events with a focus on social change

NZGDA and the US Embassy partner for gaming events with a focus on social change

The New Zealand Game Developers Association and the US Mission to Aotearoa New Zealand are collaborating to create Koia Jam, a game jam competition designed to stimulate New Zealand thinking about anti-bullying, anti-harassment and anti-disinformation online.

While there are long-standing policies, infrastructure and regulations in place to ensure the safety of children on playgrounds and in vehicles, there is little in the way of safeguards for online places where young people spend an ever-increasing amount of time. This has led to a spread of disinformation, misinformation and cyberbullying online in recent decades, and has had countless consequences for mental health.

Video games have long been a place for learning, social exchange and building connections with people online, and their potential for social change has only recently been explored. Games like Concrete Genie and organizations like Games for Change have empowered a new generation of game creators and social innovators to combat toxic online cultures.

“Stimulating social change through the media is incredibly difficult, but there are few media more suited to the challenge than games. Koia Jam will provide an opportunity for people to explore the topics of misinformation and cyber security in an engaging way and to engage in critical thinking about complex issues, says NZGDA Chair Chelsea Rapp.

Koia Jam is a 48-hour game jam, a time-limited hack-a-thon where small teams attempt to create a playable game over a single weekend. Game Jam competitions can be intense social experiences, based on tight, functional teamwork.

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“Bullying and the spread of disinformation are global challenges, also in the gaming world. These are some of the biggest barriers to being online these days in both Aotearoa New Zealand and the US. We are proud to partner with the NZGDA for Koia Jam 2022 to spread a message of positivity and inclusion online. Let’s play games and have fun together, says US Ambassador Tom Udall.

Taking place from November 25-27, Koia Jam also features a series of web interviews with game developers from New Zealand discussing the idea of ​​driving social change through game development. You can find these on NZGDA’s Facebook page. Learn more about Koia Jam or register your team by visiting

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