As in the past, the judges consist of experts and thought leaders in the world of video games as well as experts on the issue of abusive dating relationships - especially as it affects adolescents.
Maria Burns Ortiz is co-founder and CEO of 7 Generation Games, which makes educational immersive video games and interactive apps. As a startup leader, she works on everything from business development to game design to fundraising. A NY Times bestselling author, Maria also leads the company's creative and narrative teams. She is a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and women in tech, co-host of the More Than Ordinary podcast and believer in the power of games to have a transformative societal impact.
Dan Butchko oversees all operations for Playcrafting globally and carries out planning and execution of all New York activities. Through Playcrafting, Dan and his team work to empower and grow game development communities through events and education that cater to veteran and aspiring developers alike. He aims to help gamers and enthusiasts become developers and active developers become successful businesses.
Simon Carless is an EVP at UBM Tech, overseeing the Game Developers Conferences in San Francisco and Germany. He also oversees the double Webby award-winning Gamasutra website, and the Black Hat information security conferences. He has previously worked as a lead game designer at Kuju Entertainment, Eidos Interactive and Atari.
Drew Crecente is founder and executive director of Jennifer Ann's Group. He is also a member of the Council of Europe's Game Over Hate initiative and the [re]gamed Campaign. Drew speaks about IPV, teen dating violence, and the use of video games for social change. His speaking engagements include GDC, the National Youth at Risk Conference, SIEGE, Games for Health, and Games for Health Europe conferences. Drew has also presented at the CDC and written for the Games for Health Journal. He is Jennifer Ann Crecente's father.
Andrew Greenberg, executive director of the Georgia Game Developers Association, has been making his living as a game developer since 1990. Best known for designing computer games and roleplaying games, is lead developer on the upcoming Fading Suns: Noble Armada mobile and tablet game. Andrew co-created the “Fading Suns” roleplaying and computer games and was the original developer of White Wolf’s “Vampire: The Masquerade.” He has credits on more than 50 White Wolf products and more than 20 HDI books. He has also worked on products with other roleplaying game companies, including “Star Trek Next Generation” and “Deep Space Nine.” His computer game credits include Dracula Unleashed, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, Emperor of the Fading Suns, Warhammer 40K: Final Liberation, Merchant Prince II, Mall Tycoon, Dungeon Crawlers, Dungeon Lords, The Virtual World of Kaneva, Railroad Tycoon Mobile and the Global Agenda MMO. A fellow with the Mythic Imagination Institute, Andrew is also organizer of the Southeast Interactive Entertainment and Games Expo (SIEGE). He serves on the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission.
Ruud Jacobs is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. His work focuses on the impacts of persuasive games and the psychological mechanisms for their effects. He is part of the project Persuasive Gaming in Context that looks at persuasive games through three interdisciplinary focal points: theories of persuasiveness, design principles, and validation. Aside from his research, Ruud lectures in ethics and quantitative methods and also manages the research centre's digital research lab.
David Langendoen is the president of Electric Funstuff (EFS), a NY-based design and development company founded in 1998 that specializes in applying motivational principles from the computer game world to the realm of educational software. EFS has designed and developed games across a range of subjects including reading comprehension, math, history, and financial literacy. Its signature program is the Mission US series of American history games, currently used by over 50,000 middle school teachers and their classes.
Dr. Brooke Morrill is the Director of Education at Schell Games, a full-service, independent game development company specializing in transformational games and innovative, interactive experiences. Brooke’s experiences throughout graduate school shaped her views on behavior, learning, motivation, and how games provide an excellent platform for making positive impacts. While earning her MA, she managed teacher training, child curriculum, and administration in a university-based preschool program. She then pursued her PhD in Psychology, during which time she developed and evaluated a school-wide game designed to improve children’s dietary decisions. Finally, she accepted a position at Schell Games, where she heads up internal and external grant-related and educational projects across a wide variety of platforms. She continues to have interest in the evaluation of educational games and has extensive experience presenting her work at professional conferences and publishing manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Jon Preston is the Interim Dean of the College of Computing and Software Engineering and the Co-Director for the Center of Applied Gaming and Media Arts at Kennesaw State University. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Georgia Tech and his PhD in Computer Science from Georgia State University. He is particularly interested in collaborative editing systems, game simulation, and the use of these technologies to improve learning. He has participated in NSF-funded games-for-learning and community building grants to enhance STEM education. Additionally, he has spoken at National Science Foundation workshops on gaming in engineering and computer science education and how to vertically integrate student teams in games for learning projects. His most recent work focuses on building teams to improve technology and learning opportunities through public-private partnerships, connecting the College of Computing and Software Engineering to industry.
Dr. Elizabeth L. Richeson is a Psychologist in El Paso, Texas, the head of the Advisory Board for Jennifer Ann's Group, and former president of the Texas Psychological Foundation. She is an expert on teen dating violence, appears regularly on news and talk shows, and lectures nationwide on a variety of issues related to teenagers, young adults, and relationships. She is Jennifer Ann Crecente's grandmother.
Jo Sharpen is the policy manager of the Children and Young People's Project at AVA (Against Violence and Abuse) in the U.K. and wrote the national U.K. toolkit on children, young people and domestic violence for practitioners, Improving Safety, Reducing Harm, published by the Department of Health in 2009. She has also written numerous policy briefings, guidance and training packages on violence against women and girls; currently she is writing a book on domestic violence in teenage relationships.
Peter Willington is a Producer at Bristol-based games studio Auroch Digital, located at the Bristol Games Hub. He is currently working on a number of digital and physical games at Auroch, all the while continuing to champion the medium as the co-owner of the Staying In podcast. He brings with him seven years of industry experience from across multiple disciplines.