Games for Change Announces Winners of 9th Annual Student Challenge Game Design Competition

Games for Change announced the winners of the 2024 G4C Student Challenge, an award-winning game design program and competition that invites middle and high school students to design games that promote real-world change. The Challenge, which over the last nine years has become the largest student-facing game design challenge in the U.S., provides students and educators with new and engaging ways to explore complex problems affecting their communities and develop creative solutions. 

Games for Change Announces Winners of 9th Annual Student Challenge Game Design Competition

This year’s themes were focused on UN sustainability goals, encouraging students to explore solutions for greener communities, healthier oceans, and eco-friendly fashion. For the first time, the program welcomed international students and educators and included participants from 21 countries, underscoring the importance of global collaboration to solve global challenges like climate change. The competition also expanded to include categories for board and tabletop game submissions in addition to digital games, broadening the scope of creativity and accessibility for aspiring game designers. Of 1,000 original game submissions received from 1,800 individual students and teams this year, 119 were tabletop games.  

“This was a landmark year for the Games for Change Student Challenge, as the program opened up to students anywhere in the world and introduced analog game categories,” said Arana Shapiro, Chief Operations and Programs Officer at Games for Change. “Since we first launched the first Student Challenge nearly a decade ago, the program has continued to grow and evolve each year to offer new pathways for learning and participation and empower more young people to see themselves as designers and changemakers. This year’s Student Challenge was the most accessible and inclusive yet.”

 "At Hasbro, we have always believed in the transformative power of play to bring joy and connection,” said Kevin Colman, Senior Director of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact, Hasbro. “The student submissions for the Games for Change Student Challenge have been outstanding, highlighting young game designers' immense creativity and innovation. Game design not only cultivates essential skills like empathy and problem-solving – but also reinforces the vital role of tabletop games in the broader gaming industry. We are proud to have our Gaming teams contribute to this initiative, helping to shape the future of play and positively impact our communities." 

"At Unity, we believe that creativity can and should come from anyone, anywhere,” said Jessica Lindl, VP Social Impact, at Unity. “By partnering with Games for Change, we are empowering the next generation of creators across the globe through access to tools and resources, and we are truly inspired by the young minds using Unity to foster real-world change and address global issues. Along with nurturing their creativity, innovation and vision for a better future, the Student Challenge also equips students with essential, in-demand skills and knowledge to shape their own futures in the digital world. We celebrate every participant in the Challenge making a positive impact to the world and are proud to support their journey."

In a virtual Awards Ceremony on May 23, 77 students and 2 educators were recognized for outstanding work on social impact themes and special award categories, including character design, use of Unity, and critical writing. The submissions were rigorously reviewed by a panel of 193 expert judges. Winners received prizes including games and tech and opportunities for networking and mentorship by industry leaders. The Game of the Year recipient received a $10,000 scholarship sponsored by Take-Two Interactive. 

“In the past, I have made games purely for entertainment, but as I developed DeSeller8, I realized that games could be a great medium for raising awareness of social issues while players have fun,” says Game of the Year winner Geonho Song, a high school student from South Korea who designed a game that highlights the impact of clothing donations on the environment and local communities. 

“I believe in teaching students about advocacy and socially responsible practices,” says Jalina Chatzipantsios, Educator Leadership Award winner from Nightingale Middle School in California, whose class participated in the Challenge for the 7th year. “I love having my students be part of Games for Change because every year, they choose some really awesome themes for students to practice their game design, coding and creative writing skills.” 

A full list of 77 winners and finalists, along with links to play the digital games students created, is available in the G4C Student Challenge Arcade. 



For this year’s Challenge, students created digital games that address one of the following social impact themes: 

  • 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.



Game of the Year

  • DeSeller8, by Geonho Song from Seoul, South Korea


Leadership Award

  • Heather Bell from Acworth, Georgia

  • Jalina Ramirez Chatzipantsios from Los Angeles, California 

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