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A first, the competition will now be open to international student game designers and accept analog tabletop game submissions

NEW YORK (November 28, 2023) — Games for Change (G4C) announced the themes and partners for the 2023–2024 G4C Student Challenge, the largest social impact game design program and competition of its kind, which bridges students’ passion for video games with civic engagement and digital storytelling. The competition will welcome international participants and accept analog game submissions for the first time ever. This year’s game design competition theme is climate change, focusing on greener communities, healthy oceans, and eco-friendly fashion. This Student Challenge game design program and competition blends gaming and social impact to encourage middle and high school students across the globe to create games that address some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Each year, the Student Challenge reaches thousands of middle and high school students to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world through virtual game design courses, game jams, and a national game design competition. New elements in this year’s G4C Student Challenge include:

  1. Free Educator Professional Development
    Games for Change is excited to offer a brand new Learn Professional Development Catalog, the only free, virtual PD of its kind where teachers will have access to a full suite of virtual professional development workshops, curricula, and resources to bring social impact game design into their classrooms while building future ready skills: collaboration, communication, coding, and computational thinking.
  2. Tabletop Game Submissions
    A first since its inception, and in an effort to expand the competition’s accessibility for those who might not have broadband access or coding experience, the Student Challenge now welcomes student game designers to stretch their creativity beyond digital design to develop analog educational card games, board games, and role playing games.
  3. International Game Submissions
    For the first time, the Student Challenge is open to educators and students across the world. International students aged 10 – 18 can now submit their social impact games and be eligible to win the full range of prizes.

“We are proud to partner with Games for Change and its Student Challenge to unleash the creative force of game design and ignite a passion for environmental stewardship,” said Kevin Colman, Sr. Director of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact at Hasbro. “At Hasbro, we know the many benefits of analog and tabletop games – how they bring people together through the shared joy of play and the transformative power of storytelling. We can’t wait to witness the incredible game creations these students will bring to life.”
Last year, almost 9,000 students participated in Student Challenge programming. G4C received almost 1,000 submissions from 192 cities in 40 states. As we face an unprecedented climate crisis that will have long-term effects on our youth, the G4C Student Challenge empowers students, educators, and communities to address climate change and foster sustainability through innovative game design.

“Youth bring unique perspectives and new ideas to solving climate challenges. Youth activism continues to be at the forefront of climate advocacy, and we are excited to support students to harness their creativity to educate their communities about climate challenges and solutions through play and gamification,” said Kristi Hibler-Luton, Senior Director of School Programs at EcoRise.

This year’s Student Challenge game design themes center around the following climate-related prompts:

  • Stronger and Greener Communities with EcoRise – Build a healthier future by inspiring players to become climate champions as they overcome a sustainability challenge in their community, such as waste management, urban planning, or community action.
  • Be Ocean Wise – Make a splash for a cleaner future by designing a game that proposes creative solutions to clean up our oceans to inspire, educate, and activate players to make a difference to support a healthy ocean.
  • Recycle the Runway – Step onto the runway of sustainability and make every fashion choice count. Help players be fashion forward and dress for eco-success by teaching players to make head-to-toe ecologically responsible fashion choices.

“Young people are not just the next generation of climate leaders, they’re leading today. Around the globe, students are at the forefront of the essential fight against climate change, bringing fresh perspectives, bold ideas, and unmatched passion. We see everyday in our work that students taking individual action create ripples of change that lead to powerful collective impact. I am thrilled that Ocean Wise is working with Games4Change to use gamification to educate and empower youth around the globe to become ocean champions,” said Nicole Straughan, Vice President of Youth & Education at Ocean Wise.

G4C, Hasbro, Unity, EcoRise, and Ocean Wise invite educators and students to become part of the solution and join the Student Challenge to create more resilient, healthy communities.

About Games For Change
Since 2004, Games For Change (G4C) has empowered game creators and innovators to
drive real-world change — using games and immersive media to help people learn, improve
their communities, and make the world a better place. G4C partners with technology and gaming companies, nonprofits, foundations, and government agencies to run world-class events, public arcades, design challenges, and youth programs. G4C supports a global community of game developers working on using games to tackle real-world challenges, from humanitarian conflicts to climate change and education.

Media Contacts
Ilena Parker, McPherson Strategies

Laura Fuller, EcoRise