Submissions for the 2015 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge are now open to anyone age 12 or older, regardless of nationality. You’ll be able to submit your game until September 20, though paperwork will be due on the 16th. Finalists will be announced October 15.

The rules for entry are as follows. Serious Game Entries must:

  • Have clearly defined, measurable learning objectives
  • Provide players with a clearly identified challenge/problem
  • Make use of gaming technology
  • Provide positive/negative feedback towards achievement of learning objectives
  • Be original games (as opposed to novel uses of existing games)
  • NOT be modifications to existing games
  • Be intended for an audience of 12 years of age (US 6th grade) or older

The finalists will attend the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), where their games will be displayed (prominently!) at the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge area. The conference will be held in Orlando, Florida, from November 30 to December 3. All finalists will be expected to attend, so prepare to ship yourself to Orlando this winter. Attendees will also be able to vote on which game will be awarded the People’s Choice Award at the conference.

As for the final rounds, there are seven awards in total. Development categories include Students, Business, and Government. Then there’s Mobile Games, Student’s Choice, the People’s Choice Award, and Special Emphasis, which has a unique focus each year. This year’s focus is Social Media Crowdsourcing for Peer Learning:

“In additional [sic] to the development category for which a game was submitted, games that use social media and/or crowdsourcing as a multi-player opportunity for peer learning and distributed problem-solving will be eligible for the Special Emphasis Award. Games might use social media to create learner engagement, reflection, and action. The idea is to use social media to scale gameplay to include large groups of people…all contributing to individual and collective learning experiences. For example, games in this category might create a conversation on a topic to help players solve puzzles in a serious game. Social media inputs to gameplay could also include results from polls, feedback, videos, links—just about anything you can imagine being part of a serious game.”

According to their website, “the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) was born in 2005 from the desire to stimulate industry creativity and generate institutional interest towards the use of digital game technology and approaches for training and education.” This is the showcase’s 10th anniversary. You can read about their history and how they got started here.

Keezy Young

Keezy Young

Keezy is a gamer, illustrator, and designer. Her background is in teaching and tutoring kids from ages 9 to 19, and she's led workshops for young women in STEM. She is also holds a certificate in teaching English. Her first memory of gaming is when her dad taught her to play the first Warcraft when she was five. You can find her at Key of Zee and on Twitter @KeezyBees.