The "Change in Your Pocket" Movement: The New Wave of Mobile Games

When I started the Global Gaming Initiative nearly three years ago with the mission of connecting mobile phone gamers with humanitarian charities, I didn’t fully appreciate what kind of uncharted territory I was walking into.

As a kid, I never really felt I was part of a global community. Having moved from my home in Colombia to America at age five, assimilating to a new setting and new culture was a great challenge. In America, it was really hard for me to feel a part of the relatively homogenous Minnesota environment where I grew up.

But today, some of these lonely feelings I felt as a child have been ameliorated by the proliferation of technology and connectivity; regardless of physical location, we are far more able to connect with others. Our smartphones—our new digital horizon—allow us to connect with others worldwide with just a fingertip.

It’s not just that technology is changing—it’s that technology is changing us, perhaps faster than ever before in our shared history. Too often, we wonder passively whether these changes are for better or worse, failing to understand that we’re active participants in our relationship with tech. We get to decide whether we use it for good or for apathy. Whether we shut out the world and isolate ourselves in our devices, or harness their limitless power for something greater than ourselves.

I must admit, when I started the Global Gaming Initiative nearly three years ago with the mission of connecting mobile phone gamers with humanitarian charities, I didn’t fully appreciate what kind of uncharted territory I was walking into. Since starting this venture, though, the landscape has developed beyond my wildest expectations. Today, I’m overjoyed for GGI to count itself the peer of a growing number of mobile developers challenging technological platforms and creative mediums to step up their game and do something more for society. Rice Vocabulary, Get Water! for India, Budge, Hum This!, the Humble Bundle—these are just a few of the full list of creators utilizing the convenient accessibility and fun of mobile games to incentivize micro-donations, exploiting the unprecedented reach of the smartphone to connect gamers with goodwill around the world.

Our own app, Sidekick Cycle, a free-to-play, downhill cycling game recently released on the iTunes App Store, does things a little differently. First, we deal exclusively with tangible, sustainable goods that meet a real-world, basic need. When you spend money in Sidekick Cycle, proceeds go directly toward purchasing a bike for someone in need through World Bicycle Relief. There’s a persistent benefit to owning a bike in the developing world, and it’s multiplicative—with the simple, invaluable gift of mobility, you can get to school, commute to work, or reach a clinic when a family member falls ill. Moreover, a physical, lasting good allows us to deliver easy feedback to our users; in-game metrics, keep Sidekick Cycle players constantly looped in to how great an impact the community has made playing together. We’re already giving out real bikes from proceeds of the game, which feels great.

As the wave of mobile giving games takes root and matures, I think that emphasis on transparency is going to be more and more important. With a growing marketplace comes competition—with each other, but also with plain, old, traditional games—and so the most successful titles are going to be the ones that best tap into that underlying gamer itch for achievement. And that triumph only comes in seeing the results of your efforts.

Because that’s what this “change in your pocket” movement has to be about—connecting your simple, virtual act of play with a powerful, real-world act of kindness.

via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less