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GivingTales - A New Take on Classic Fairytales and How Sir Roger Moore Got Involved

Posted by Jennifer Allen on June 22nd, 2015

From the team behind Subway Surfers, with help from internet investor Klaus Lovgreen, comes GivingTales:an app offering a modernised version of classic Hans Christian Andersen tales. And it currentlyfeatures the voices of such talent as Sir Roger Moore, Ewan McGregor, Stephen Fry, and Dame Joan Collins.

The free-to-download version includes Sir Roger Moore’s reading of "The Princess and the Pea," with further stories available for $3.99. Each story is a short, animated envisioning of the classic tales, making them ideal for young and old alike. Besides being rather charming and great for entertaining kids, there’s an extra reason for paying: 30% of the proceeds are going to UNICEF. The charity helps to create a better world for children via vaccination, education, protection, and food.

We were fortunate enough to have a brief chat with James Bond himself, Sir Roger Moore, to learn about how he got involved with the project.

AppSpy and Pocket Gamer are streaming the best mobile games ever, for charity, for 12 hours

Posted by Peter Willington on February 20th, 2015

Play With a Purpose - EA Joins the Pack With the World Wildlife Foundation to Help Save Animals

Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 16th, 2015

EA and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) are partnering up from now until January 31 to raise money for animals and ecosystems in an effort called Play With a Purpose. The pair will be offering special items and bundle packs that showcases an endangered animal or ecosystem. 35% of the net proceeds will go to support WWF global conservation efforts.

The list of games include:

  • Rhino & Madden NFL Mobile: Although there is no scientific proof of its medical value, rhino horn is highly prized in traditional Asian medicine. Illegal killing of Rhinos for horns has severely threatened their population. Supporting with the WWF Rhino Pack of 5 players.

  • Poison Dart Frog & Theme Park: The Amazonian poison dart frog uses its brightly colored skin to warn predators that it is unfit to eat. Climate change and habitat loss threaten their survival. Supporting with the WWF Poison Dart Frog Bundle.

  • Snow Leopard & Tetris Blitz: Inhabiting Central Asia and the Himalayas, snow leopards are threatened by habitat loss, diminished food supply, hunting for illegal wildlife trade, and revenge killings by herders. Supporting with the WWF Bundle.

  • Sumatran Tiger & Bejeweled Blitz: Fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers exist on the island of Sumatra. Accelerating deforestation and rampant poaching mean this noble creature could end up extinct. Supporting with the 270,000 Coins pack.

  • Emperor Penguin & MONOPOLY Slots: Known as the “giant of the penguins”, an adult can grow up to four feet in height and weigh 80 pounds. Climate change and habitat loss pose the greatest risks to these remarkable birds. Supporting with the WWF Pack.

  • Forests & Plants vs. Zombies 2: Over the past 50 years, about half the world’s original forest cover has been lost. The most significant cause for this is human deforestation. Supporting with the Sap-fling Reforestation Bundle.

  • Arctic Hare & Peggle Blast: The arctic hare lives in the tundra of the Arctic islands and faces threats from habitat loss and climate change. Supporting with the Master-activating Green Power Peg.

  • You can visit www.ea.com/wwf for more details, and to learn more about the WWF visit www.panda.org.

    Give a RED Gift from Apple and Help Fight AIDS

    Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 25th, 2014

    In the spirit of the holidays, Apple has partnered with (RED), a project that helps create items to fund AIDS programs in Africa, to participate in World AIDS Day. From now until December 7, every time you purchase a (PRODUCT)RED participating app or in-app purchase item, 100% of the proceeds go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.

    Apple will also give you a (PRODUCT)RED iTunes Gift Card to use toward anything at the iTunes Store when you buy select Apple products. They have special iPods and cases in the (PRODUCT)RED color. On World AIDS Day, they will contribute a portion of the proceeds from every product, accessory, and gift card they sell.

    You can check out the new (PRODUCT)RED merchandise on Apple's site. And for more information about the Global Fund and (RED), visit RED.org.

    Boogie for a Cause - Ubisoft Announces the Just Dance Challenge for the Special Olympics

    Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 18th, 2014
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: EVERYBODY DANCE NOW :: Read Review »

    It's time to use your dancing skills for a good cause. The Special Olympics has announced that they are holding their first annual Just Dance Challenge to raise awareness and funds. Some of your favorite Youtube celebrities and musicians are lending a hand to the cause, while Republic Records is also offering incentives and giveaways.

    The campaign will run from now until January 31, 2015. To participate, you can register at esports.specialolympics.org and play the Just Dance game with your family and friends.

    "I'm thrilled that my music can be part of the Just Dance Challenge for Special Olympics," said international singer and personality Nicole Scherzinger. "As a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, I've seen first-hand, around the world, the transformative power of Special Olympics, and I'm thrilled that millions of people will have the opportunity to help them in their wonderful work - and to do it by dancing!"

    You can download Just Dance Now off the App Store for free. For more information about the Just Dance Challenge, visit esports.specialolympics.org.

    Ms.Pac-Man Goes Pink for National Breast Cancer Foundation Campaign

    Posted by Ellis Spice on October 2nd, 2014

    Bandai Namco Games America has unveiled that they have joined forces with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, and as a result are launching the Ms. PAC-MAN Pink Ribbon Campaign.

    At the base of the campaign is a new maze pack for Ms. PAC-MAN and PAC-MAN, titled the 'Hope Maze', with all purchases of the $0.99 pack going directly towards supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition, the in-game interface in both games will be going pink for the month of October.

    NBCF Founder and CEO Janelle Hail had this to say on the campaign:

    We are very excited about our new partnership with Bandai Namco and the Ms. PAC-MAN Pink Ribbon Campaign. By encouraging their gamers to Join the Pac, we can reach more women than ever with our message of hope. The funds they raise will allow us to provide early detection services for women in need in all 50 states.

    Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are both available on the App Store now for $3.99, with the 'Hope Maze' available as an in-app purchase in both games for $0.99.

    Bookopotamus Tests Your Literary Knowledge, With Each Play Earning a Donation to First Book

    Posted by Rob Rich on January 22nd, 2014
    iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

    Do you read a lot? Have a thing for literature? Think you can "name that book" in X number of lines? Well then take a look at Bookopotamus.

    Bookopotamus is a literary trivia app with a real purpose. It will test your familiarity with various works by playing clips from audiobooks and tasking you with identifying the title they're from. What's really interesting is that the more you play, the more developer Findaway World will donate to the First Book charity.

    If you'd like to test your knowledge for a good cause, you can download Bookopotamus for free right now.

    Prepare Yourself for Golden Gate Smackdown II - a No Holds Barred 32 Person Ping Pong Tournament for Charity

    Posted by Rob Rich on January 20th, 2014

    It's time to take up the paddle once more. For justice!

    2013's Golden Gate Smackdown saw an impressive turnout of folks looking to have a good time and play some ping pong for charity. This year's 32 person tournament is scheduled for February 12 (7pm-12am) at the Mezzanine in San Francisco.

    It's going to be a tournament to remember; with plenty of major companies representing themselves on the tables, and this year's special musical guest will be The Pharcyde. So, think you've got what it takes to go up against Silicon Valley's toughest paddlers?

    Ping pong hopefuls can email the event coordinators at [email protected] or go through Eventbrite if they would like to sign up and show off their skills.

    Photo from 2013's Golden Gate Smackdown

    PopCap Games Donates Over $100,000 in Games and Swag to Military Gaming Charity, Operation Supply Drop

    Posted by Andrew Stevens on November 14th, 2013

    PopCap Games partook in Operation Supply Drop's end of the year 8-Bit Salute fundraiser by donating a large amount of game codes and swag for the military gaming charity, reaching over $100,000. Its donation consisted of 100 codes that unlocked every game PopCap has ever made, which is well over 60, including games like Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled. All of the donations gathered for 8-Bit Salute are being sent to soldiers currently deployed in combat zones, as well as those who are recovering in military hospitals.

    For more information about the charity, visit OperationSupplyDrop.org.

    Brandon Bozzi Explains Why He Wants Gaming to Benefit Charity With Game It Forward's First Game, Quingo

    Posted by Carter Dotson on September 19th, 2013
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    Brandon Bozzi is the co-founder of Game It Forward, a project that wants to use video games to help raise money for charity. His and Game It Forward's first game is the quiz game Quingo, where players answer trivia questions to earn points for their choice of charity. The game is available now on iPad, and Bozzi took the time to answer questions about Game It Forward and Quingo.

    148Apps: How did the whole Game It Forward concept come about?
    Brandon Bozzi (BB): I had been working in the commercial games industry for over a decade as a designer and producer of all kinds of games - tabletop, social, core, and casual. During that time, I was following the work of people like Jane McGonigal and Ian Bogost, and quickly became a believer that games were becoming more than entertainment. That they could have a real, lasting social impact. I came to realize though that most social impact games go unnoticed by the masses and thus have little impact at all. So I started Game It Forward to make games that are fun-first and just so happen to make the world a better place. To that end, Game It Forward's mission is to use the compelling interactive nature of games to support education, science, health care, and a variety of other charitable causes.

    148Apps: Why Quingo as the first title?
    BB: I held a summit last year that brought together people from impactful non-profits with some of the best game designers in the industry to work together to come up with a world-changing game idea. Quingo was the idea that came out of that collaboration. It was the right scope, it was a unique game, it pulled together two very popular mobile game genres (trivia and bingo), and it could have a significant, sustainable effected on the projects that our charity partners were struggling to achieve.

    148Apps: How do you set everything up to where players can compete for charity?
    BB: The more Hope (points) a player earns in the game the more money Game It Forward donates to their selected charity. Players can see how much Hope they've donated total and compete with their friends around who has donated the most Hope to a particular project, and around who has the highest score for a game.

    148Apps: How do you balance the game to where a player just jumping in will have an idea on which charity to support?
    BB: We have six charities for our players to choose from: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Kiva, PAWS, Seattle Children's, Splash, and The Martinez Foundation. These charities represent a variety of causes: health care, micro-finance, animals, clean water for children, and education. The hope is that almost every player will be able to find a cause that resonates with them. Furthermore, each charity is associated with a specific project with a progress bar, so players can see how close each project is to being funded.

    148Apps: The game design has an interesting balance where success early on helps make later questions easier – do you counter-balance this in any way with harder questions early on, or is it all randomly-generated?
    BB: Good eye. As players get more and more answers correct they see fewer and fewer incorrect answers so it's easier to find all the correct answers as the game goes on. We like how that feels, and how that lets players accelerate towards getting a Quingo (five correct answers in a row). We don't put harder questions towards the beginning or end of a game, but we do try to have every question have some easier answers and some more difficult ones so that every player is challenged at their own skill level.

    148Apps: How do the in-app purchases help with getting more money to charities?
    BB: Quingo is free to download, so it's the money that comes from in-app purchases (and ads) that Game It Forward shares with the players' selected charities.

    148Apps: In testing, do you find that the charity aspect helps keep players more compelled or more willing to spend money?
    BB: We designed Quingo to be a compelling game on its own - a completely entertaining experience separate from its social impact. That said, yes, we've found people are more willing to spend money when they feel confident that it's helping a cause that they care about. And we hope that the charity aspect will help bring the game to the attention of players that will enjoy it, but may not have noticed it otherwise.

    Thanks to Brandon Bozzi for his time.

    Developer Spotlight: Shortbreak Studios

    Posted by Jennifer Allen on April 3rd, 2013
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    As its latest title comes with the unique proposition of helping a children's charity, we thought it time to learn more about Polish iOS developer, Shortbreak Studios.

    Who is Shortbreak Studios?
    Part of Techland, one of the biggest Polish game developers out there thanks to its work on titles such as the Call of Juarez games, Shortbreak Studios is made up of a core team of 9 passionate developers. A mixture of programmers, designers, level designers, artists and a producer, the company benefits from relying on Techland to work out the finances and allowing the team to focus on the creative side of things. As explained by producer, Pawel Rohleder, it means the combination of "the flexibility and creativity of a small independent development studio with the experience and knowledge of an established player in the gaming industry!"

    Why should I remember the Shortbreak Studios name?
    There are a couple of good reasons, so far. First of all, they made Sugar High, a game that perhaps owed a little too much to Tiny Wings but still proved to be great fun. More importantly, Shortbreak Studios has worked in conjunction with the Cape of Hope Foundation in order to create oncology clinic for children with Cancer.

    How did Heal Them All come about?
    Pawel Rohleder explains, "We have been supporting Cape of Hope for some time and it was our mutual idea to create a game about defending the organisms for mobile devices. We thought that fighting microbes inside the human body would be [a] very nice setting for a tower defense game as this genre is very popular on mobile patforms. Another idea was the freemium business model as we wanted to reach as many users as possible by offering a part of our game for free." Notably, Heal Them All is entirely free to try out with the full campaign unlocked for $1.99.

    What's next on the horizon?
    The team has lofty plans, with Pawel happily declaring the ambition that many hold, "Our main goal is to conquer the whole world with our mobile games!" At the moment, though, the firm is mostly working on two different projects that they aren't able to discuss just yet, as well as porting to other devices. Possible updates for their current titles are also in the works and currently being brainstormed.

    Anything else I should know about Shortbreak Studios?
    Pawel was all too keen to tell us just what he and the rest of the team love about iOS development.

    Pawel: Everything! We enjoy every aspect of mobile game development and we put a lot of effort and passion into every step of [the] production process. We believe this is the only way to make high quality games. One of the most important…[parts] in efficient mobile development is rapid prototyping. Each prototype must convince us that this could be a GREAT game. We cancel the project if we do not believe in its playable demo. And the sooner, the better. The development process itself is also very interesting because of tons of small decisions that the team needs to make in [terms] of hard negotiations or just [our] gut feeling ;). Personally, I love the final stage of the development where all individual assets turn into a working product and our vision materializes into a real game. This…shows us that it was all worth the effort but…it always makes us come up with a lot of new ideas and changes that we could make to improve the final quality.

    Where can I find out more about Shortbreak Studios?
    We'll be keeping an eye on the company's progress. There's also its website, Facebook page, Google+ page and Twitter account.

    Heal Them All is available now, for free. But do consider paying towards the full unlock, given where the profits are going.

    Turn Grocery Receipts Into Funds For Your School With Shoparoo

    Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 21st, 2012
    iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

    Schools rely on fundraising efforts from parents and supporters of their establishments, even more so in recent years thanks to the ever tighter budgets being implemented during these tough economic times. There are plenty of ways to raise money but so many of these are either time-intensive, hugely inconvenient or even expensive for supporters to back. Those people struggling need to check out Shoparoo. It's a new app that's set to make things so much easier and more profitable for schools and their supporters.

    Basically, the app turns grocery receipts into money for schools. All the user has to do is take a photo of their receipt via the Shoparoo app and watch the "Roo Points" flood in for their designated school. It's as simple as that. The more spent, the more points awarded with bonuses for clear pictures of receipts and regular submissions.

    The folks at Shoparoo have managed to work out a deal that involves information gathered by the app being used to identify trends and general consumer behavior. Shoppers don't have to worry about any excessive personal information being taken though as no credit card or bank details are required. Users can even cross out certain items on their receipts if they'd rather not disclose it. It's a great way of ensuring that market research benefits you, not just major companies.

    Jared Schrieber, co-founder and CEO of Shoparoo, explained the benefits to us. "The concept of turning grocery purchases into school donations is already widely adopted throughout the U.S.," he said. "What's so unique about our approach is that there's absolutely nothing specific that parents have to buy, sell or collect in order to raise money for their school. This makes Shoparoo an amazingly hassle-free fundraiser and a natural complement to schools' existing Box Tops and labels collection programs."

    It's a pretty neat idea and it's already been backed by numerous major companies such as Dove, Hellmanns and Knorr. Over 200 schools have already signed up to the project with it promised to be simple to join. Funds are then credited automatically based on the Roo Points accumulated.

    Why not give it a try for your school? Let us know your experiences of the service.

    Shoparoo is available now for free.

    Socialvest: Adding A Social Conscience To Mobile Purchases

    Posted by Jennifer Allen on August 2nd, 2012
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    Socialvest is the latest app that hopes to give something back to worthy causes.

    Previously a desktop based product, the app lets users shop with their iPhones, before receiving money back from each purchase that can be used to donate to over 1.5M different non-profit organisations.

    Hundreds of different stores are available through the app, covering a wide range of different wants and needs. Major stores such as Amazon and Best Buy are available, as well as other more niche examples.

    Each store offers a different percentage of spend that will go to a charity, making it clear to see what money is going where. It's then similarly easy to decide on a charity or cause and watch the money go towards helping someone or something less fortunate.

    It's a neat idea and it'll be fascinating to see how much Socialvest raises for good causes in the long term.

    Socialvest is available now for the iPhone, and it's free to download.

    Help Save a Fishy Life with a Limited Time “Sharky” Shark Dash Skin

    Posted by Rob Rich on July 23rd, 2012
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: THE PERFECT PREDATOR :: Read Review »

    It’s hard to work up sympathy for one of nature’s most efficient aquatic killing machines (a few species, anyway), but I think it’s do-able. Sharks might not be cuddly, and they have been known to attack and/or kill people, but that’s no reason to hunt them to extinction. Especially for some overpriced soup. Which is why WildAid, The Discovery Channel, and Gameloft have joined forces for Shark Week to raise awareness and do a bit of fund raising through Shark Dash.

    For the rest of the month and a few weeks in August, players of both the iOS and ad-supported Google Play versions of Shark Dash will be able to purchase special “limited time only” content – most notably a new skin for Sharky – for a monetary show of support. Proceeds will go toward raising awareness and hopefully reducing the demand for shark fin soup; a luxury dish with rapidly growing demand and a rapidly diminishing source. Over 70 million sharks per year, in fact.

    The special content will be available until August 18th, and I urge anyone with the means to do their part. Sharks may not be cute, fuzzy, or huggable (I sure as heck would never go swimming with one, except possibly a whale shark), but they don’t deserve to die out over something like this.

    PopCap to Hold Solitaire Blitz Marathon Event to Support charity: water

    Posted by Carter Dotson on June 26th, 2012

    PopCap is staging a charity event on Tuesday, June 26th to help benefit charity: water, and to set a Guinness World Record. Two women, Kathleen Henkel playing at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York City and Laura Rich playing at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, will try to play the game for 24 or more hours of Solitaire Blitz to set the record for Longest Videogames Marathon Playing a Card Game. They can take breaks while playing, but the rules are very strict about how long their breaks can be.

    PopCap is pledging $5,000 for each player, and individuals can pledge money for each hour that the two women play on the Solitaire Blitz Facebook page. Their attempts to set the record can be viewed live on the internet starting at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EDT), or in person at each location, where PopCap will be handing out free goodies, and taking donations for charity: water.