By Dolly Rairigh Glass

2009-SGSC-poster-wWith three years behind them, the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge IPT didn’t have any major changes to implement for 2009, and instead focused on increasing both the number of student entries and international entries.

“More and more the word continued to spread to potential submission candidates that this wasn’t a flash in the pan kind of event,” said Kent Gritton, co-founder and current Executive Committee member for SGS&C. “The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge was an event they could count on from year to year.”

The student entries for the submission year nearly doubled from the year before. The student winner from that year was Philip Seyfi of Prague, Czech Republic from the French Lyceum (in Prague). His winning game was NihongoUp, a Japanese language reviewing tool that allowed learners to practice typing correct letter combinations to improve Katakana and Hiragana typing recognition speed as they reviewed the Kanji vocabulary.

Seyfi went on to submit again in 2012, partnering with another high school graduate, Ollie Capehorn, and was chosen as a finalist for their language learning game, LinguaLift. With the kind of feedback the students were receiving, the SGS&C was proving to be a credible, growth opportunity.

“Whatever the type of level of your game, consider entering the SGS&C to force yourself to improve it to its limits, while perfecting your own skills at the same time,” Seyfi said. “And whatever the outcome, take careful note of the judges’ comments and try to implement their suggestions in your game. At least take some time to consider why these comments have been made, and how you could address the underlying problem one way or another.”

Along with the student and international submissions growth, it was also a time where the IPT realized as they were gaining more exposure, the trends in serious gaming were changing a bit. Early on, it was the tendency to see first person shooter games, and part of that was due to the initial development and guidance of SGS&C.

“When we first began looking for submissions in our early years, we asked for military types of games and most people believed that meant first person shooter,” Gritton said. “And back in 2005, because it was relatively difficult to build a game, there weren’t a lot of people building games from scratch but instead taking an existing game, changing a few components and modifying it for what you wanted. First person shooter games were the easiest way for modification.”

“Throughout the years, we’ve been seeing more use of flash as a medium in which to build the games, 2-D or even 2 ½-D, as opposed to a 3-D game,” Gritton said. “It’s been an interesting shift.”

Gritton added he thinks we are nearing another shift because users are building a comfort level using the full 3-D. “It’s much more user friendly, for frontend users and developers,” he said. “From that perspective, it’s really fun watching the game development from year to year.”

2009 Serious Games & Showcase Challenge At-A-Glance

29 Entries 12 Finalists
Best Serious Game Business Category: VESSEL Damage Control Trainer by BBN Technologies
Best Serious Game Student Category: NihongoUp by Lycee Francais de Prague
Best Serious Game Government Category: Computer Base Corpsman Training System by RDECOM-STTC
People’s Choice Winner: Computer Base Corpsman Training System by RDECOM-STTC