By Dolly Rairigh Glass
Heading into the year 2010, the Serious Games & Showcase Challenge IPT committee began to realize that the growth in the number of games and the quality of games they had planned for was definitely becoming more evident. Although they didn’t see a big increase in the number of entries for this particular year, they did see a great potential for growth.
“It’s very difficult to place a lot of value on the numbers for growth over a short amount of time because the projections are a little skewed, and with any forecast, the real benefit is over a longer period of time,” explained Kent Gritton, co-founder and current Executive Committee member for SGS&C. “But what we did notice is the quality of games was getting better each year as the number of entrants grew, and that was a very good sign that the SGS&C was taking flight and carving out our own niche in the Serious Games arena.”
In 2010, the quality of submitted games had become so much stronger, that after the finalists were selected, the committee felt that two games were deserving of Honorable Mention status, and for the first time since the second year of the challenge, they awarded Honorable Mentions along with the 12 finalists, further validating the committee’s view of the trend.
“Our IPT was very impressed, as were our international judges, with the games submitted for this Challenge; they were true Serious Games,” Gritton said. “Our real concern was managing the size of our event, and our mission to keep within our defined categories and keeping to our 12 finalists, so that we could properly and fairly house all of them on the I/ITSEC floor. Yet we felt strongly about recognizing those two exceptional games as Honorable Mentions.”
Another exciting development was the eclectic nature of the topics of the games. There was a game that taught marketing; another that focused on teaching anti-piracy, a training game for attractions loading, and a 3D training game for pig farmers. “The mix of the types of games we had as finalists really proved to us that more and more developers were seeing the opportunity for using Serious Games for all kinds of training and learning,” Gritton said. “For the IPT committee, the wide variety of games that were submitted, and then ultimately chosen, just solidified what we were already seeing with the current growth and what we anticipated for the future.”
As the number of games increased, and the quality of games became stronger, the committee opened up the aperture of its focus to manage this increased interest, as well as the media familiarity and acceptance. The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge, now completing its fourth competition, was developing its roadmap and it now seemed as if this momentum would carry them for the long haul.
2010 Serious Games & Showcase Challenge At-A-Glance
35 Entries, 12 Finalists and 2 Honorable Mentions
IPT Chair: Matt Spruill | Deputy Chair: Josh Looper
Best Serious Game Business Category: Marketing 101 – The Principles of Marketing by Muzzy Lane
Best Serious Game Student Category: Energize by FIEA
Best Serious Game Government Category: Moonbase Alpha by NASA
People’s Choice Winner: Boarders Ahoy! The Maritime Interdiction Game by NATO ACT
Honorable Mention: Our Worlds of Makrini by PIXELearning; and Attractions Loading Game by Disney University