New book from ETC alum Asi Burak

Press Release

“This fascinating book shows how much games have to teach not only our children, but our society as a whole. Here’s hoping that the pioneers profiled here inspire a new generation to engage and participate in our political process.” –The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, Retired Supreme Court Justice
In POWER PLAY: How Video Games Can Save the World authors Asi Burak (05) and Laura Parker explore how video games are now pioneering innovative social change around the world. The phenomenal growth of gaming has inspired plenty of hand-wringing since its inception. From the press, politicians, parents, and everyone else concerned with its effect on our brains and bodies, there is an ongoing debate about the benefits of video games. What Burak and Parker show in POWER PLAY is that video games are a force for good in society.

As the former Executive Director and now Chairman of Games for Change, Burak has spent the last twelve years creating and promoting social impact games in collaboration with leading organizations like the White House, NASA, World Bank, and The United Nations. The Games for Change movement has introduced millions of players to meaningful experiences around important, complex issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, childhood cancer, pre-natal care, and the U.S. Constitution.

Here are some of the fascinating stories depicted in POWER PLAY:

  • How former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor used video games to create the nation’s largest civic engagement project. Half of all middle school social studies teachers in the country now use Justice O’Connor’s games to teach civics.
  • How virtual reality is helping treat psychological and behavioral problems, teaching empathy and helping professional NFL athletes improve their field strategy.
  • The tech startup founded by a Saudi Arabian Prince is going against religious and political traditions to develop a provocative video game called Saudi Girls Revolution – about a group of kickass Saudi women who ride motorbikes and defeat their evil oppressors – which Prince Fahad hopes will help change attitudes towards women in the Arab world and beyond.
  • How a celebrated Stanford neuroscientist set out to create the world’s first video game to be played by prescription; it is currently awaiting approval by the FDA to prevent cognitive decline and early onset Alzheimer’s in patients aged over 60.
  • The empowering and challenging road to creating a series of video games for the Half the Sky movement – founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn – to educate and raise funds for global organizations helping girls and women in developing countries.
  • The powerful healing force of video games, such as Re-Mission, to help children battling cancer – and how the nonprofit behind the game is now testing a promising new online platform to battle childhood obesity.


ASI BURAK is a veteran of the videogame and tech industries, and an award-winning executive producer. He was named one of the Digital 25: Leaders in Emerging Entertainment by the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and Variety Magazine for his work with Games for Change.

He is currently the CEO of Power Play and also the chairman of the influential industry organization Games for Change (G4C), which produces the largest gaming event in NYC, the annual Games for Change Festival.

He has served as a strategic advisor to organizations like EON Productions (producer of the James Bond films), Tribeca Enterprises, Newsweek, and McCann Erickson, helping guide the strategic use of games and digital experiences to further brand engagement.

He has been invited to speak at conferences and institutions including TED Talks, Harvard Kennedy School, the Clinton Global Initiative, Sundance, the Skoll World Forum, CES, SXSW, GDC, and the US Army War College.  He is also a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts MFA in Design for Social Innovation and holds a Master of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon University.

LAURA PARKER is a journalist based in New York. She contributes short and longform pieces to The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and The Atlantic. She was a video game reporter for CBS property GameSpot from 2008-2013, where she helped spearhead coverage of the introduction of Australia’s first adult classification for video games. She has appeared on national television in Australia and penned op-eds on video game culture for The Sydney Morning Herald and The New York Times.

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