This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C)! Look for future newsletter updates and website announcements at sgschallenge.com to learn more about this year’s unique 15th Anniversary Retrospective event planned as part of I/ITSEC!
There has been a lot of change and growth in those 14 events, and we would love to share a little background about how we got started. We invite you to take a walk down memory lane to revisit our very first challenge, in 2006, that laid the groundwork for the event we all know and enjoy today. Stay tuned as we celebrate all the years, games, and people that have made SGS&C the success it is today.
It all started immediately after the 2005 I/ITSEC, when the Naval Air Warfare Commanding Officer, Capt. Larry McCracken, requested a “special” event. Given the prevalence of serious games throughout training and education today, it is hard to believe there was a time when people were resistant to the idea of leveraging games for serious purposes. But at that time, there were several issues coalescing to push for the need for this new game-focused special event: Government entities were unsure of gaming as an instructional form of media; although Industry saw the potential, they were unsure of serious gaming as a niche market; and students, even as their interests continued to grow, were still unaware of serious gaming as an employment avenue.
At this time, there was no existing platform for promotion and exhibition of game-based training opportunities ala the Independent Games Festival (IGF) at Game Developers Conference., It seemed to the group driving the Serious Games initiative that I/ITSEC was a logical location to showcase Serious Games and their associated benefits.
That next fall, in 2006, the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge at I/ITSEC under NTSA sponsorship began, led by IPT Chair, Kent Gritton (NAWCTSD) and Deputy Chair, Curtis Conkey (NAWCTSD). The first year was based on attracting the mythical “garage game developers,” there were company size restrictions, company financial restrictions, and restrictions that prohibited government-funded entries. Under these criteria, the first Serious Games Showcase & Challenge featured six finalists:
• Steel Beasts Professional by eSims Games
• Point of Attack 2 by HPS Interactive
• Harpoon 3 Professional by Advanced Gaming Systems
• Gator Six by WILL Interactive
• Modern Air Power by John Tiller Games
• Game DIS (GDIS) by Research Network Incorporated.
All and all, in its first year, the SGS&C had successfully laid down roots to grow into the much larger event it is today. Those participants helped to kick off an event that would eventually grow exponentially, and garner the attention and support of an entire I/ITSEC community in the years to come.