Jennifer Estaris (she/her) is a game director at ustwo games, a B Corp studio known for Monument Valley, Netflix’s Desta: The Memories Between, and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure. At ustwo games she directed Monument Valley 2's special chapter The Lost Forest and is game directing the next Monument Valley. She has worked in the game industry for the past 15 years at SYBO (known for Subway Surfers with over 4 billion downloads!), Nickelodeon, and Disney, among others, and has spoken at a number of conferences (GDC, SXSW, PGC, Gamescom, Women in Games Conference) about social impact, especially climate justice, in games. Jennifer is an active member of the UN’s Playing for the Planet, the IGDA Climate SIG, Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, and the Game Dev Rebellion.
Games have contributed to social change for many years, even pre-dating the video game era; for example, in 1903, Monopoly was originally conceived as a social justice game by Lizzy Magie. In this session, we'll take a quick look at the latest developments in this realm, covering topics such as the climate crisis and social justice, and focus on activism initiatives in games, drawing examples both from history and from ustwo games’ Monument Valley and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure, among others. Jennifer will also share highlights from the UN-backed Playing for the Planet's 2022 survey, which reveals how games can spur positive actions in real life.