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2nd Annual G4C Student Challenge Launches in Three Cities!

October 4, 2016
Games for Change (G4C) is proud to announce the launch of the 2nd annual G4C Student Challenge in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Dallas for the 2016-2017 school year. This year’s programs features three new themes – Local Stories & Immigrant Voices, Climate Change, and Future Communities – along with a new lineup of partners and student events.

The Challenge is being implemented through a consortium of national partners, including Mouse and Institute of Play, and local partners in each city (The Sprout Fund in Pittsburgh and Big Thought in Dallas) with generous support from the Best Buy Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities and the HIVE Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust.

Challenge themes
Students will design games around the following three themes, each supported by partners that provide research assets, workshops, and subject expertise:

  • Local Stories & Immigrant Voices – supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): Games that explore the unique history of local immigrant experiences through the lens of the student’s own experience;
  • Climate Change – supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA): Games that explore the local effects of climate change, and aim to raise awareness and change the behavior of people in each city;
  • Future CommunitiesCurrent, powered by GE: Games about how smart technologies and infrastructure can improve urban life and empower citizens, with participation from each city’s government

A consortium of humanities partners is also providing city-specific content for the NEH Local Stories & Immigrant Voices theme, including the New York Historical Society, Brooklyn Historical Society, CUNY American Social Histories Project (NYC); Humanities Texas (Dallas); Heinz History Center and Pittsburgh Kids (Pittsburgh).

How the competition works
Students can work either individually or as a team of up to four to create a digital game to submit to the competition, which is open to all middle and high school students in city public schools. Students can upload their final project to the game submission portal on the Challenge website starting in March 2017.

A jury of top game developers, civic leaders, and social innovators will evaluate submissions and select the winners in May 2017. Prizes, which include career development opportunities such as internships, job shadowing, and mentorships, will be presented at an awards ceremony at a cultural institution in each city. Three Grand Prize winners will be flown to NYC and invited to come onstage at the 14th annual G4C Festival in 2017.

Moveable Game Jams in NYC
G4C has also added a new component to the NYC Challenge program — a series of four hands-on game making events, or Moveable Game Jams. Supported by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund, the Game Jams will each be hosted in a different NYC borough and focused on a Challenge theme, with activities facilitated by organizations leading the way on coding, STEM learning, and game development.

The first Game Jam will be held on October 15th at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx, with activities by Museum of the Moving Image, Spazecraft, and Coderdojo NYC. Student registration is open here: http://bit.ly/MakeGamesOct15.

Game design courses
As part of the Challenge program, a select group of 20 teachers in each city will receive professional development to run game design courses at their schools using a curriculum developed by the national curriculum partner Mouse, with student mentorship provided by professional game designers.

The 2017/18 G4C Student Challenge is currently in the early planning stage with an aim to bring the program to more cities and schools. The Challenge is supported by the Best Buy Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities and The New York Community Trust.

To learn more about partnership opportunities for this year’s Challenge (we are seeking Prize Partners and Mentors) or to participate as a student or teacher, please email studentchallenge@gamesforchange.org.