Games for Change National Student Challenge Dares Kids to Submit Social Impact Games

All US Middle and High School Students are Welcome to Enter

The 2021 G4C Student Challenge Competition has been officially announced. This annual game design competition is designed to act as a bridge between students’ love of video games and civic engagement, encouraging them to make games about issues that affect their communities. From February 1 to April 1, middle and high school students across the US will be able to submit their own, original social impact games. Winners will receive prizes for “technology, video games, thematic- and games industry-related opportunities” and Grand Prize winners will get a $1,000 scholarship provided by Take-Two Interactive.

games for change student challenge ad

This year, the national contest’s themes are:

  • Advocating for Animals: Games that explore the interconnected relationship between humans, animals, and the environment (in partnership with Annenberg PetSpace).
  • Build a Better World: Games that celebrate diversity and teach people how to uplift marginalized voices (in collaboration with Minecraft: Education Edition).
  • Resilience through Games: Games that elevate self-care, social connection and community support in the time of COVID-19 (in partnership with IMLS and mental health non-profit Take This).

If that’s not your thing, the competition will also feature two new award categories this year:

  • The Fair Game Writing Challenge, sponsored by the New York Videogame Critics Circle, introduces a new element to the competition: video game journalism where students submit a Video Game Review and a Game Narrative. Winners will receive special mentorship opportunities from expert video game journalists and critics in addition to a $400 cash prize.
  • The Accessibility Challenge is part of a partnership with award-winning games studio Numinous Games through their new project, the Playability Initiative. The Playability Initiative is made possible through the financial support of Novartis Gene Therapies. Student games that include accessibility features to support the gameplay experience for players with different types of disabilities (visual, auditory, motor and/or cognitive/learning) will be considered for this award. The winner will receive an Xbox Adaptive Controller and Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit for themselves and another set for their school to playtest future accessible designs. The winning student will also have an opportunity to collaborate with Numinous Games on the design of Painted Waters. As a collaborator, they will receive a named associate designer credit in the game once it is released.

This year’s Challenge will also be hosting a ton of virtual events, including virtual classroom visits from pro game designers, live game design support, and virtual game jams. All of these will be a great place to prototype your entry before you submit it to the competition. Better yet, there’ll be additional city-wide competitions in the four Challenge Cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York City. Check out the website for more details.

What social issue would you make a game about? Let us know down in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.