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This year’s Serious Games Showcase & Challenge (SGS&C) is officially open and ready for game submissions. Since 2006, SGS&C has helped to foster creativity and innovation in Serious Games as part of NTSA’s Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).

Last year, as part of vIITSEC, the 2020 SGS&C focused on providing a video-based retrospective showcasing the changes and growth the Challenge has seen since its start. Short videos that highlighted the overall SGS&C, the finalists across the years and across subject matter domains, and discussions of game evolution within the dominant domains of games received across the years: education and training; military, and healthcare.

SGS&C Director Jenn McNamara, Breakaway Games, explained, “Even before the shift to vIITSEC was known, 2020 was set to include a celebration of 15 years of impact and innovation across the SGS&C events. We believe that the true value of the SGS&C is bringing people together to discuss opportunities and challenges for learning games and XR while providing a showcase of best-in-class applications to help open I/ITSEC attendees’ minds to games’ potential and encourage broad adoption.”

McNamara added, “When we coupled these beliefs with an understanding of the exceptional circumstances organizations and people were working under, we decided to pause our traditional challenge for 2020 and instead provide an excellent retrospective of the SGS&C. It is still available on our website and I encourage everyone to check in out. But, for 2021, we are back with a Challenge and conference audience excited to learn about what’s new in serious games and XR. While we look forward to seeing as many participants as possible back for the live event, we are suspending our normal present-to-win rules to encourage broad participation regardless of ability to be there in-person.”

This year’s competition will award games in the following game categories: Best Government, Best Student-Developed, Best Business-Developed, People’s Choice and Best XR.

Throughout the last 15 years of competitions, winning games have ranged in subjects from cybersecurity to healthcare training to marketing to algebra. Game developers submit their games for consideration during the open submission period. For 2021, that began July 15 and will close on Sept. 1. From there the games are evaluated during a downselect and the finalists are chosen. The finalists’ games then compete to win their categories. All finalist games and XR are invited to I/ITSEC to showcase their games in the SGS&C booth.

The event is run by an all-volunteer SGS&C Organizing Committee supported by the I/ITSEC Conference Committee. SGS&C enjoys continued growth and recognition because of these people, their supporting organizations, and its partnership with I/ITSEC. The 2021 committee is led by industry lead, Meagan French, BetterLessons; supported by her deputy Amanda Bond, SoarTech; and government chair LCDR Devin Corrigan, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD). McNamara continues for her 6th year as director.

“The Serious Games Showcase and Challenge celebrates the advancement of learning and instruction through innovative game technology,” said French. “At I/ITSEC 2021 in Orlando, SGS&C finalists will once again share their innovation, their creativity, and their impact on learning with the greater I/ITSEC community. We’re excited to provide an opportunity for our finalists to share how their games support diverse learners with distinct learning needs. Through their efforts we can continue to research and build awareness of how serious games drive deeper learning outcomes.”

Go to the How To Enter page to access the Submission Forms, or email SGSChallenge@gmail.com.

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