Share this project


Share this project

GAMEFUL, a Secret HQ for Worldchanging Game Developers's video poster

Good games make us better and change the world. We’re the people making and playing those games. We need a Secret HQ. Read more

pledged of $2,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on September 29, 2010.

Good games make us better and change the world. We’re the people making and playing those games. We need a Secret HQ.

About this project

As a planet, we spend 3 billion hours a week playing computer and videogames. That’s a LOT of time -- enough to change our lives, and probably save the world (the real world) while we’re at it.

That's why we want to create a secret HQ for people who are making games that are making us:

- happier
- smarter
- stronger
- healthier
- more collaborative
- more creative
- better connected to our friends and family
- and better at WHATEVER we love to do when we’re not playing games

Here are some games that are already doing just that: EVOKE, Fold It!, The Epic Win App, Flower, Code of Everand, SuperBetter, The MP Expenses Game, Budgetball, the Pokéwalker, Quest to Learn, Little Big Planet: Gamechangers, World Without Oil, Seek ‘n Spell, Goal Mafia,and Conspiracy for Good.

What all of these projects have in common: they’re dedicated to making some kind of a real positive impact on gamers’ lives and the world around them.


Here's a TED Talk that explains exactly how games can make a better world.

I’m Jane McGonigal, and I gave that TED Talk in February 2010. And now, as a result, I get about 50-100 emails every week from really interesting people who are: passionate about positive impact games and looking for potential collaborators; launching a start-up, and looking for employees or co-founders; seeking advice or mentors; looking for co-authors for papers, or co-panelists for conferences; need someone they can interview for a book, or a news, magazine, TV or radio story; and most importantly, looking for a world-changing game they can play TODAY.

I want to put all these people in touch with each other, so we can all make and play more good games together. That’s why I’m starting Gameful (with my three awesome co-founders Nathan Verrill, Matthew Jensen, and Kiyash Monsef).

So if YOU’VE got a reality-changing, life-changing, or world-changing game -- or even just an idea for one -- we want to make it easy for you to get what you need:

- collaborators
- ideas
- funding
- partners
- mentors
- allies to cheer you on
- playtesters
- publicity
and of course,
- gamers who want to play your awesome, innovative, world-changing games.


Gameful is an online "Secret HQ" where you can connect with other people who believe in the power of games to make us better and change the world.

It will be a free resource -- a place for you to:

- Set up a profile sharing your expertise, skills, abilities, and interests
- Search the network for collaborators and talent
- Spread the word about your new projects
- Meet journalists who want to write about interesting games or research like yours
- Find new and cutting-edge game projects to inspire you
- Join a Gameful book club and discuss big ideas
- Join a Gameful game club and play big ideas!
- Brainstorm and submit conference panels or sessions together
- Plan Gameful meet-ups at conferences and festivals
- Nominate your own work, or work you love, for the annual Gameful Awards (in the categories of Reality-Changing, Life-Changing, and World-Changing)


We’ve already assembled our core team of developers and designers to make this project happen and we’re aiming to launch at 10:28:10 AM on 10/28/10 (October 28, 2010). We’ve already designed the site; all we need is to raise enough operating costs to make sure that we can afford to code and launch the site, round up some awesome interns, and make a great experience for everyone who joins.


Q: Where does the name “gameful” come from?

A: Gameful means to have the spirit, or mindset, of a gamer: someone who is optimistic, curious, motivated, and always up for a tough challenge. It’s like the word “playful” -- but gamier. :)

Q:What is Gameful?

A: Gameful is an online Secret HQ for gamers and game developers who want to help change the world and make our real lives better. Think of it as a cross between a professional network and a creative brainstorming space. The goal is to make it easy for anyone making or playing world-changing games to find collaborators, mentors, jobs, ideas, and funding. And of course, to discover fun new games to play.

Q: Is it really a "secret" HQ?

A: Well, think of all the people out there who have no idea that this kind of world-changing work is happening all around them. We're secret like that -- hiding in plain sight, saving the world, one game at a time.

Q: Who can join?

A: Anyone who is awesome enough to want to make or play games specifically designed to a have a positive impact on the real world, or on our real lives: game designers and developers, game writers and artists, programmers and producers, project managers and marketing experts, reporters and critics, students and researchers, players and playtesters.

Even if you’ve never made a game before, you’re welcome to join Gameful -- you’ll surely find people who would love your help with their games... or who would be interested in helping you make YOUR idea a reality!

Q: What kind of games count as ‘gameful’?

As long as the project has a stated goal of making our real lives, or the real world, better -- and not just to entertain us -- then ANY kind of game counts: computer games, videogames, mobile games and alternate reality games; commercial games and indie games; serious games and art games; board games and iPad games; crowdsourcing and innovation games; street games and new sports; education games and activist games; health games and productivity games; and just about any other kind of game you might think of!

Q: Why are you raising funds?

A: The founders of Gameful have volunteered their time and services to create this new network. But we also want to be able to pay basic costs (like server hosting and community management) through membership fees. And we would like to be able to pay awesome students to be interns for the site.

Q: You've reached your initial goal of $2000! Should we keep supporting? What will do you with the additional funds? A: Yes! Please keep supporting. Gameful is strictly not-for-profit, and any surplus funds raised above our expected operating costs will be used to support members with programs like Awesome Money (no-strings-attached awards of up to $1000 for awe-inspiring game projects created by our members), Power-Ups (opportunities to earn VIP passes to the annual Game Developers Conference, for example, or awards to cover the cost of submitting your game to various game awards and festivals); and Dream Chat matchmaking (in which we provide members with the opportunity to have a mini-mentorships: a personal Skype video or phone call with one of their game development or other creative industry heroes). There's no limit to what we can do as our endowment grows for our not-for-profit group. So please keep kickstarting us even after we meet our initial goal. You'll get awesome rewards AND 100% of your funds will go directly to these special programs.

Q: I'm getting the Mega Brain Meld! How do I tell you who to sign the book to?

A: When we close the round of fundraising, we'll send you a note and get your details.

Q: Who created this project?

A: A handful of game developers dedicated to positive impact games, including Jane McGonigal, the author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World; Nathan Verrill and Matthew Jensen, co-founders of Natron Baxter “Fun is not the enemy of work” Applied Gaming; and Kiyash Monsef, award-winning producer of EVOKE.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $12 or more

    210 backers

    FOUNDER'S REWARD: You get your name on the list of Gameful Founders; PLUS a Founder icon for your Gameful profile page; PLUS a secret, hand-numbered puzzle piece that will serve as your official Gameful founder’s card. (Slip it in your wallet; Whenever you meet another founder, check to see if your puzzle pieces connect. If they do, it’s a sign from the gameful gods that you are destined to join superpowers and collaborate!)

  • You selected
    Pledge $24 or more

    83 backers

    SECRET BACK DOOR ACCESS: All of the above, PLUS secret access to the Gameful HQ 2 weeks before it officially opens to the public. That’s plenty of time to sneak around, find out how everything works, earn some bonus points, and leave your mark before everyone else arrives.

  • You selected
    Pledge $48 or more

    165 backers

    MEGA BRAIN MELD: All of the above, PLUS a personalized, autographed copy of Jane McGonigal’s book REALITY IS BROKEN: WHY GAME MAKE US BETTER AND HOW THEY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. (Outside of North America please add $10; book will ship ~ January 20, 2011.) (Jane Says: “When you choose your reward, be sure to tell me who to sign to book to!”)

  • You selected
    Pledge $98 or more

    6 backers

    HERO'S 12-PACK: (Save $48) Be the hero and snag Founder’s Rewards (including the profile icon AND the puzzle piece) for 12 people: you and 11 friends. PLUS, since you’re the hero of the gang, YOU get secret backdoor access to the HQ two weeks before it officially opens to the public.

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    OMG: The first person to support Gameful with $100 gets all of the above PLUS the original (the one and only!) neon green future forecasting poster in our Kickstart video, signed and personalized by the future forecaster. Tah-dah!

  • You selected
    Pledge $144 or more

    56 backers

    THE AWESOME CIRCLE: All of the above; PLUS you will be listed on the official public roster of the Awesome Circle as a benefactor of Gameful (with a one-sentence bio, and your name can link to anything you want); AND you will be invited to serve as a judge for the annual Gameful Awards.

  • You selected
    Pledge $288 or more

    12 backers

    SECRET FIERO MONSTER: All of the above, PLUS we will hide a custom Secret Fiero Monster icon on the site in your honor. (The Fiero Monster is our mascot.) The monster will appear in your choice of colors, whispering via cartoon bubble your choice of any (non-obscene ^_^) mysterious mantra of up to five words. The Monster will also link to your Gameful profile, ensuring that tons of interesting people discover you and your work. This monster will appear on the site for at least one year. (We will send you the art for your monster in case you want to make t-shirts, or put it on your business card. ^_^)

  • You selected
    Pledge $576 or more

    23 backers

    THE AWESOME BOARD: All of the above; PLUS you will be listed on the Board of Directors for Gameful on the About page (with an extended bio); PLUS you will participate in private, behind-the-scenes discussions of what to do with Gameful next; PLUS you will be invited to occasional real-world meetups of the Awesome Board with the Gameful founders whenever we have them (mostly likely to be held at major game conferences, such as GDC, Games for Change, or SXSW interactive, and in whatever major U.S. cities we happen to find ourselves in, such as San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington DC and Los Angeles.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,012 or more

    25 backers

    THE GAMEFUL FAIRY: Absolutely all of the above, PLUS you will get to establish an official Gameful Award, Challenge, or Scholarship to bestow on the recipient(s) of your choice anytime in 2011, up to $1000 to support their ongoing efforts to make awesome games that change the world. You can choose -- do you want to honor a game developer working to improve health? to be played on public transportation? to connect kids with their grandparents? to fix education? to help people dance more? to make a game for the city you live in? Your choice, your award -- YOU get to be the Gameful fairy. You will be honored by name, or anonymously, or on behalf of any corporation or organization -- with an optional photograph or a logo -- as you wish. We hope to have many different Gameful Fairies join us over the next two years, and there are no limits to how many scholarships, challenges or awards you can fund.

Funding period

- (38 days)