Ready for the details?  Get the 2023 Official Rules document or read on for an overview.

NEW for 2023!

The awards structure has been updated to be based upon the target audience for the game submission for government and business, not developer category

  • Government Audience Game Award

To qualify for the Government Audience Game Award, the Entrant Game should be built specifically for national or local government or defense purposes, including the game learning objectives, themes, story, and overall play. Examples include but are not limited to military tactics, equipment, or procedures, law enforcement, cybersecurity, tactical combat care and triage, veterans’ health and affairs, public works, and space. Funders and developers of the game can be private or government entities.

  • General Audience Game Award

To qualify for the General Audience Game category, the entrant game should be built for a general audience, including the game learning objectives, themes, story, and overall play. Examples include but are not limited to corporate training, general education, general health/healthcare and wellness, public interest, etc. Funders and developers of the game can be private or government entities.

To qualify for the Challenge…

Game entries must:

  • Have clearly defined, measurable learning objectives • Provide players with a clearly identified challenge/problem
  • Make use of digital 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

Acceptable platforms

Desktop Platforms

  • PC games (or console games running in a PC emulator mode) must run in Windows 10 or higher.

Mobile Platforms

SGS&C will accommodate the following mobile device platform applications:

  • 16 GB storage memory
  • 2 GB RAM or lower
  • Other platforms may be accommodated but will be considered as a special device. In such cases, the Entrant should be prepared to provide at least one pre-loaded device for initial game evaluation and up to ten total devices to support industry evaluation if the game makes finalist.

Operating Systems

  • Apple iOS, all platforms (version 12.x or newer)
  • Android phone (version 8.x or newer)
  • Android tablet (version 8.x or newer)
  • Mobile Web (any mobile browser capable of supporting HTML5 and JavaScript)

Other platforms may be accommodated as a special device as outlined in the 2023 SGS&C Rules.

AR/VR/MR (Collectively XR) Platforms

Extended Reality (XR) is a term referring to all real and virtual combined environments. It includes forms such as augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR).

  • Virtual Reality (VR) – an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment. It is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) – an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera). It is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. AR takes your view of the real world and adds digital information and/or data on top of it.
  • Mixed Reality (MR) – the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations in which physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. MR lets the user see the real world (like AR) while also seeing believable, virtual objects (like VR). MR then anchors those virtual objects to a point in real space, making it possible to treat them as “real,” at least from the perspective of the person who can see the MR experience.

XR experiences designed for the following platforms only require an installable version of the application.

  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus Rift, CV1 Edition
  • HoloLens, Development Edition
  • Windows Mixed Reality Devices

Platforms such as Google Daydream, Google Cardboard, Samsung GearVR, Meta Vision, or VR applications that do not run on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, or HoloLens may be accommodated, but these will be considered as a special device. In such cases, the Entrant should be prepared to provide at least one pre-loaded device for initial game evaluation and up to ten total devices to support industry evaluation if the game makes finalist.

ARKit or ARCore submissions should follow the Mobile platform guidelines as stated above.

Web Based Games

Web-based games should be designed to run on at least one of the common browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Student Entry Requirements 

To qualify as a student-developed submission, the Entered Game must have been primarily designed and developed by individuals or teams who were middle school, high school, college, or trade school student(s) throughout the creation of the game. The game content or audience is unlimited beyond adhering to the general criteria for game submissions. For the purposes of the Challenge, student status will be determined by enrollment during part or all the prior academic year. The student(s) will be asked to provide the name and contact details of a teacher and/or advisor who can attest to the students’ status during game design and development.


Still Confused or have more questions? Please take the time to consult our FAQ. If your question is not answered or you need more clarification do not hesitate to ask by emailing  for Help and Support.

When can I submit my game?

Game submission opens June 15th, 2023 and closes August 25th, 2023. All games must be submitted in this window to be eligible for the 2023 Challenge.

I have sent in my entry form, signed rules, screen shots, logo, and video. What else do you need for my entry?

A WORKING, PLAYABLE version of your game. We evaluate each game by actually playing it, so a video or storyboard is not sufficient. Beta versions or single levels of a planned multi-level game are acceptable, but we must be able to evaluate the actual gameplay. Also, if there is not a tutorial or stated objective included in the game, please provide basic instructions on gameplay and goals/objectives, including supporting material if any specialized knowledge or procedures are required and not embedded in the game.

My game won’t be ready until I/ITSEC in December.  Can I still submit this year?
We need a working, playable version of the game submitted by the end of the entry period in August. Due to the large number of high quality entries we receive, we can’t put every game on the floor at I/ITSEC, and we need to see a playable version for our finalist selection process, which starts in early October after the submission window closes. Finalists are given an opportunity to update their game for evaluators, and can bring an updated version to the I/ITSEC event to display.

Can I submit my game if it is a mod of another game?
Serious Games Showcase & Challenge does not support “modded” games. Only original creations are allowed.

My game required a special controller or a security dongle to play properly.  Is this acceptable?
Yes, you can still submit. You must provide ONE piece of specialized hardware (controller, security dongle, etc.) by the end of submission period, and be prepared to provide TEN pieces of hardware by mid-October if you are selected as a finalist.

I am a middle school student with a serious game. Can I submit in the Student Category?
Due to convention center regulations, to attend the conference entrants must be 12 years of age on or before the first day of the Conference. Entrants under the age of 18 (or the age of majority in the individual’s resident state/country and domiciliary state/country and, in addition, the state/country where acceptance of the Official Rules occurs) must include their parent or legal guardian on the entry form as part of their development team and identify them as such.

Youth (age 12 through 15) are allowed on the Conference exhibit floor during exhibit hours only and only with a parent or chaperone; children under 12 will not be granted access at any time. Youth must remain with their chaperone and students will be required to provide student ID. Absolutely no one under the age of 16 will be allowed access to the exhibit hall during set up/removal periods. Finalists who are under the age of 18 must have adult representation throughout the Challenge process. This adult must serve as the spokesperson and responsible party for the submission and participation process as well as at the conference; must serve as a chaperone on the showroom floor; and must be able to speak legally on the Finalist’s behalf.

I’ve developed a great game editor geared towards creating serious games.  Is this a valid submission?
An entry that is purely a game editor will not be able to be evaluated, since our criteria are primarily based on playing the submitted game and the associated learning/training objectives. Games that include an editor or mission creation feature are fine, as long as the existing game is primary submission.

I can’t travel to I/ITSEC if I am selected as a finalist.  Is this ok?
Finalists must have a representative physically present on the Conference exhibit floor to win an award. This requirement may be suspended by the SGS&C Director if attendance is impacted by exceptional circumstances.

Can I submit my game if it contains For Official Use Only (FOUO) or Classified material?
All military members and federal government employees should consult with their chain of command and ethics counselors to determine whether they are authorized:

1) to disclose the information that is the subject of the entry; and

2) by the Joint Ethics Regulations and Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch to accept a winner’s award.

Games may NOT contain Classified or FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO) information.

If any part of these Official Rules is held by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, illegal, or otherwise unenforceable, such part will be deemed modified or eliminated to the extent necessary, in the court’s opinion, to make it enforceable while preserving the original intent of the Host, and the remaining parts of these Official Rules will remain in full force and effect. The Challenge will be governed by, and these Official Rules will be interpreted by, and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of Florida and applicable United States federal law, without regard to any conflicts of laws principles.

The Challenge will be governed by, and these Official Rules will be interpreted by, and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of Florida and applicable United States federal law,without regard to any conflicts of laws principles. The Challenge is void where prohibited by law. Any dispute arising out of or relating to these Official Rules, the Challenge, the Conference, or any award must be brought exclusively in the state or federal courts located in Orlando, Florida, and Host and each Entrant irrevocably waive any objection to the venue and jurisdiction thereof.


I am a foreign national with a serious game.  Can I enter?
International entries are highly encouraged. If you game is played primarily in a language other than English, you will be required to provide enough translated material for our evaluators to adequately play and evaluate your game.

International Finalists must adhere to the guidelines provided by NTSA for attendance and participation at the Conference.

Is there a cost or entrance fee involved with participating in the challenge?
There is a non-refundable application fee that must be submitted in conjunction with the entry form in order for the entry to be officially entered. The application fee may be paid by credit card using the link found on the Submissions page. THE APPLICATION FEE IS WAIVED FOR ENTRANTS REGISTERING UNDER THE STUDENT AND GOVERNMENT CATEGORIES AS DEFINED IN THE RULES.

What is I/ITSEC and where can I learn more about the conference?
The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) promotes cooperation among the Armed Services, Industry, Academia and various Government agencies in pursuit of improved training and education programs, identification of common training issues and development of multiservice programs. To learn more about the conference and its details, please visit their website at:

Where is the I/ITSEC convention held?
I/ITSEC is held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. To learn more about the area please refer to The OCCC website.

Ready to enter the Challenge?

Be sure to download the 2023 Official Rules for all the submission details.

Be sure to visit the Submissions page for more details.