By Dolly Rairigh Glass

serious_games_squareSubmissions are officially open for the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge! Launching into its ninth year, the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) is the foremost venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development. 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 one of the exciting features about SGS&C is that all I/ITSEC attendees are invited to play the games chosen as finalists. They are the ones 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. Could this be your year to win the esteemed People’s Choice Award chosen by I/ITSEC attendees?

And now SGS&C has an international flair. Two years ago SGS&C formed a partnership with Australia’s SimTecT, and 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.

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 will be identified from the finalists, and OCPS middle and high school students, as well as students from other parts of the country, will evaluate and pick the winner of the Students’ Choice Award.

Finally, a unique part of the SGS&C is the Special Emphasis category, one that 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. Games in this category might create a conversation on a topic to help players solve puzzles in a serious game, for example. 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 around the world.

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.

Submissions close Sept. 15, so don’t wait!

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