Google Play has listed the finalists for its Change the Game design competition.
Designed to promote gender diversity and encourage more women into video game careers, the program challenged teens to design a game for the chance to win a $10,000 college scholarship and $15,000 for their school’s or community centre’s technology program.
The overall winner was Little Red Riding Hood-inspired side-scrolling platformer Mazu, designed by 17-year-old Christine. Runner-ups include environmentally focused mini-games, Ecoverse, created by 14-year-old Dakota; Symphony, a platform rhythm game created by 17-year-old Erin, Palette, an educational painting game designed by 17-year-old Lauren, and self-identity adventure game, The Other Realm, created by 14-year-old Lily.
All five games are now available, for free, on the Google Play store. Not only do the top finalists get a college scholarship, they also secure a scholarship to attend Girls Make Games Summer Camp, plus trips to Los Angeles, California, to attend E3.
"Of the millions of people in the United States who enjoy games on Google Play, 49% are women. Yet only 23% of game developers are women," the website states. "To address this disparity, we joined forces with Girls Make Games and ESA Foundation to launch the Change The Game Design Challenge."
"We launched Change The Game in December of 2017 on a mission to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators. To do this, we’re committed to launching programs and initiatives in three areas: promoting diversity in and of games, empowering the next generation of game makers, and celebrating women who are changing the game."
BAFTA recently announced that applications were now open for its 2019 Young Game Designers (YGD) awards. Now in its ninth year, the BAFTA YGD competition is designed to "inspire the UK’s game-makers of the future" as part of BAFTA’s year-round programme of activity that "gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of the world’s leading games". The winners will be announced in June 2019 at BAFTA’s headquarters, and all finalists will also have the opportunity to showcase their game concepts and prototypes at a special event attended by leading figures in the industry prior to the award show.