Launching into its ninth year, the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) announced Aug. 1 that submissions are officially open! SGS&C is the foremost venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development, and the top games, as chosen by the worldwide panel and students in participating schools, will be celebrated at this year’s 2014 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando.
With each passing year, the games grow more engaging and creative, and all I/ITSEC attendees are invited to play the games that everyone leaves I/ITSEC talking about – cutting-edge PC and mobile serious games, pre-selected by an esteemed group of judges to represent the best of the best at I/ITSEC.
In an exciting move two years ago, SGS&C formed a partnership with Australia’s SimTecT. As part of this alliance, the winning Student and Industry games chosen at SimTect’s also become part of the games featured at I/ITSEC and are eligible for the SGS&C Awards.
Additionally, this will be the second year of the Students’ Choice Award, initially championed by the Orange County Public School System (OCPS) in partnership with SGS&C. A pool of appropriate STEM educational games were identified from the finalists invited to showcase their games on the I/ITSEC exhibit floor. Thousands of OCPS middle and high school students evaluated and eventually selected the winner of the Students’ Choice Award, and this year, students from other parts of the country will take part as well to determine this year’s Students’ Choice Award.
A unique part of the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge is the Special Emphasis category. This category addresses a serious challenge or problem using a prescribed technology or technique. This year, SGS&C challenged developers to submit games that use social media crowdsourcing as a multi-players opportunity for peer learning and distributed problem-solving.
So what does that mean? SGS&C is looking for games that use social media to create learner engagement, reflection and action. 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 one can imagine being part of a serious game.
Winning games are chosen based on the three key areas of problem solving, technical quality and playability/enjoyment. All but two of the awards are determined by the SGS&C panel of more than 100 serious gaming experts from across the U.S. and the world. However, what some might consider the most prestigious award, the People’s Choice Award, is based solely on the votes from I/ITSEC attendees. Each attendee’s badge has a SGS&C ballot to use when selecting a winner for the People’s Choice Award.
Seven awards will be presented on Thurs., Dec. 4 in the categories of: Best Student Developed Serious Game; Best Industry Developed Serious Game; Best Government Developed Serious Game; Best Mobile Serious Game; Special Emphasis Award for the best serious game for using Social Media Crowdsourcing for Peer Learning; the Students’ Choice Award; and, the People’s Choice Award.