The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is an organization designed to inspire and motivate people to take game design seriously, particularly in the fields of education and professional training. Every year they invite submissions of “serious games” for consideration in an annual awards show and banquet.

And now they have announced the 2015 winners in seven categories!

In order to qualify as a “serious game,” the contestants had to…

  • Have clearly defined, measurable learning objectives;
  • Provide players with a clearly identified challenge/problem;
  • Make use of game play dynamics and/or gaming technology; and
  • Provide players with positive/negative feedback with respect to progress toward the Game’s challenge and achievement of learning objectives.

Now on to the winners!

Project Desal

Project Desal educates players about water desalination.

Best Business Developed Serious Game: Project Desal

Best Mobile Serious Game: Project Desal

Project Desal has you building a water desalination plant. Players can learn about water treatment and have fun at the same time. Best of all, the app is free on the iTunes store.

MUM-T Strikeforce

MUM-T Strikeforce helps military officers improve their communication.

Best Government Developed Serious Game: MUM-T Strikeforce

People’s Choice Award: MUM-T Strikeforce

MUM-T Strikeforce was a game funded by the U.S. Army. It’s designed to simulate manned/unmanned teaming, or, when a manned aircraft (like an apache helicopter) is in communication with an unmanned operator. It’s designed to train both the operators and the pilots in good communication skills.


Healthx is designed to help diagnose and treat lazy eye.

Best Student Developed Serious Game: Healthx, University of Utah

Healthx is a game that you play with eye movements. It’s designed to diagnose and treat amblyopia (lazy eye). You can watch a video of the gameplay right here.


Unsavory is a mobile game that sheds light on a dark side of the U.S. restaurant industry.

Special Emphasis: Best Social Media Crowdsourcing Game: Unsavory, University of Miami

Unsavory is a mobile game designed to shed light on restaurant employees who do not have access to paid sick leave. In the U.S., that’s about 90% of all restaurant workers. Not only is this terrible for the workers, but it can also lead to serious public health crises, such as the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. The game challenges you to work for a month at a restaurant while sick. Unsavory is available for iOS and Android.

Particle in a Box

Students’ Choice Award: Particle in a Box: The Quantum Mechanics Game, George Institute of Technology

Particle in a Box is designed to teach some of the complex concepts of Quantum Mechanics in a simple way. It was designed to help educators learn about good ways to engage their students with ideas previously only expressible through abstract mathematical formulas.

This article was written by

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.