The annual G4C Student Challenge is a national game design competition that challenges middle and high school students to design and code games about real-world issues. Students enter their original games and compete to win awesome prizes including games, technology, and a $1,000 Grand Prize Scholarship!  Finalists showcase their games and winners are revealed during celebratory awards ceremonies at the end of the school year.
The 2021 G4C Student Challenge is now closed for submissions. Students will be notified of their standing in the competition via email in May. All competitors are invited to attend the virtual Awards Ceremony on June 17. More information coming soon.

How Students Participate

1. Select and research one of the Challenge themes:

    • Advocating for Animals

    • Build a Better World

    • Resilience Through Games

2. Design and code a game about the topic

    Work alone or in a team of up to 4 students

3. Submit the game to the Challenge Competition

    Entry period is Feb 1 – April 21, 2021

4. Compete to win awesome prizes and national recognition

    Grand Prize winners receive a $1,000 Scholarship

Key Dates

Ativo 2
Feb 1, 2021 Open for Submissions
April 21, 2021 Deadline to Submit Games
May 2021 Jury Evaluation Period
Late May 2021 Finalists Notified
June 17, 2021 Award Ceremony

Competition Rules, Guidelines & Award Categories

To qualify for the competition, all games must meet the below ‘game guidelines.’ Students may choose to create their game as an individual or in a small team of up to 4 students. Additional guidance is provided for students who choose to work in teams. 

Game Guidelines

•  Games must address one of the 2021 Challenge themes (Advocating for Animals, Build a Better World or Resilience Through Games)

•  Games must be playable on a web browser (digital games only!)

•  Games must be created in a free or open platform (i.e. Scratch, Unity, Game Salad, etc.);  

    PLEASE NOTE: Games about the ‘Build a Better World’ theme must be created in Minecraft: Education Edition or Minecraft. Need a Minecraft: Education Edition account? Send us an email and we will provide students with a free account.

•  Students can create games as an individual or in a team of up to 4 students

•  Students may submit one game per theme category for a total of 3 games (either as an individual or in a small team)

•  Each game requires an entry form (See: 2021 entry form for reference)

•  All entry forms must be completed during submission period (Feb 1 – April 21, 2021)

•  All content must be in accordance with the Challenge Terms of Use.

In 2021, the G4C Student Challenge will expand nationally, giving all middle and high school students the opportunity to compete in a National Competition. In addition, city-wide competitions will take place in the four Challenge Cities (Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York City), for which there are additional eligibility requirements.

Student Eligibility

• For the National Competition, any middle/high school student located in the US may enter the competition.

• The city-wide Challenge Cities competitions are open to public/charter middle and high school students. Home school students qualify if they report to the DOE. The four Challenge cities include:

          • Atlanta (and the greater metro area)
          • Detroit (and the greater metro area)
          • Los Angeles
          • New York City

Students must be in grades 6th -12th; students in 5th grade may also participate in they have officially entered middle school.

Students under the age of 18 must have the consent of a parent, teacher or guardian to submit a game; students must provide contact details (phone and email) for the adult contact in their submission form.

• Students under the age of 13 need a teacher or guardian to submit a game on their behalf.

• All applicants may be required to provide verification of enrollment, age and parental/legal guardian permission.

Working in Teams

 • Students can create games as an individual or in a team of up to four students.

• Teams submit one entry form per each game.

• Teams should identify a ‘Team Leader’ who is responsible for (a) completing the entry form and (b) communicating w/ G4C on behalf of the team.

• All team members must satisfy the student eligibility requirements .

• If any student on the team is under 13 years old, the ‘Team Leader’ must be an adult.

The 2021 G4C Student Challenge will recognize winners in the four citywide competitions (Atlanta, Detroit, LA and NYC) and the National Competition across all award categories. Full details on each competitive award – including submission requirement, judging criteria and student resources – are available on the Award Categories page.

G4C Award Categories:
Playable games that address one of this year’s social impact themes.

• Best Game – ‘Resilience Through Games’ – Middle School 

• Best Game – ‘Resilience Through Games’ – High School

• Best Game – ‘Advocating for Animals’ – Middle School

• Best Game – ‘Advocating for Animals’ – High School

• Best Game – ‘Build a Better World’ – Middle School

• Best Game – ‘Build a Better World’ – High School

• Grand Prize Winner – Best Overall Game

Game Accessibility Challenge:
Playable games that address one of this year’s social impact themes and also include accessibility features to support the gameplay experience for players with different types of disabilities (visual, auditory, motor, and/or cognitive/learning). Learn more here.
Fair Game Writing Challenge:
A game journalism scholarship that challenges students to submit two writing samples: (1) A Game Narrative and (2) A Video Game Review.  Learn more here.

PLEASE NOTE: All award categories can be accessed through a single entry form, available on the competition submission portal. The deadline for all award categories is April 21, 2021.

Who do I contact with questions about the competition?

Please reach out to the G4C team by email: [email protected].


When can I submit my game to the Student Challenge competition?

Games can be entered into the competition from February 1 – April 21, 2021. The 2021 G4C Student Challenge is now closed for submissions. Join the Challenge newsletter to stay up-to-date on all important competition news.


I have never made a game before, where do I start?

If you are new to game design, we highly recommend downloading G4C’s Intro to Game Design student curriculum. You can also find lots of great tools and materials on the Student Resources page. You can also attend one of the G4C student game jams, which take place on Saturdays throughout the Spring (see upcoming events here).


What are the G4C Student Challenge themes?

The themes are topics that students create their games about! This year, students can choose between three themes:


How can I enter the Student Challenge competition?

You can enter the competition by filling out the submission form accessible on the left-hand toolbar within the Competition Portal. You will need to create an account in order to access the form.


I want to participate in the Fair Game Writing Challenge. Do I need to submit a playable game in addition to the written responses?

No. Playable games are NOT required for the Fair Game Writing Challenge.


If I enter the Game Accessibility Challenge, does my game need to address one of the three Challenge themes?

Yes. Students must create a playable game that addresses one of this year’s Challenge themes in order to participate. In addition to addressing the theme, the game must also incorporate accessible design. We highly recommend that students explore these ‘Tips for Considering the Needs of Disabled Gamers in Your Design’.


I want to make a game about the Build a Better World theme, but I don’t have access to Minecraft: Education Edition. Am I required to use this platform for my game?

Students who select the Build a Better World theme must use either Minecraft: Education Edition or Minecraft to build their games. If you do not have an existing account, G4C will provide you with a complimentary Minecraft: Education Edition account. Email us to request one: [email protected].


I made my game in Minecraft: Education Edition / Minecraft Java. How do I upload it to the submission form?

You have two options:

  1. Create a video walkthrough of your world and upload the file to the submission form (strongly recommended for students using Minecraft Java).

  2. Export your world. Then, you’ll end up with a file that you can upload to the submission form. For step-by-step instructions, check out: https://aka.ms/MEEImportExport.


What’s the difference between the Challenge City competition and the National Competition? What does Challenge City mean, anyway?

Challenge Cities include NYC, Los Angeles, Atlanta (and the greater metro area), and Detroit (and the greater metro area). These four cities have year-round Student Challenge programming, beyond just the competition, and are focused on public schools. The National Competition is open to all other middle and high school students in the U.S. including those in private, independent, and other types of schools.


I am a student in Los Angeles. Will my game submission be entered into the Challenge City competition or the National?  How do I choose?

You do not need to choose which competition you want to be entered into.  If you are a public school student in one of our Challenge Cities, your game will automatically be considered for the Challenge Cities competition.


I am in a Challenge City, but I attend a private school. Which competition will my game be entered into?

As the Challenge City competition is open to public school students only, your game will be considered for the National Competition.


Are there different submission forms for the local Challenge City competition and the National Competition?

No. The same form is used for both.


How will the jury evaluate the games? What will I be judged on?

Games will be evaluated by judges on four criteria: Gameplay, Originality, Use of Theme, and Wow Factor.  Find further information about the judging criteria here.


How do I submit a game that I created with a team?

Students can submit a game as an individual, or as a team of up to 4 students. We strongly recommend that teams identify a ‘Team Leader’ who is responsible for (1) completing the entry form and (2) communicating w/ G4C on behalf of the team.

As a reminder, a team should only submit one entry form for a game. All team members must meet the Challenge’s eligibility requirements.


Do Middle School students compete against the High School students?

No, winners are awarded at both the middle school level and the high school level for each theme category.  


When are the student winners announced?

Winners are announced (and prizes awarded) during celebratory Awards Ceremonies in May-June 2021. More information on the Award Ceremonies will be available on the program Events Page in Spring 2021.

Competition finalists will be notified ahead of the awards ceremony and are invited to showcase their games at the events.


What types of prizes can I win?

Each student on the Grand Prize winning teams receives a $1,000 Grand Prize Scholarship. Prizes for winning teams vary from year to year, but typically include crystal trophies, video games, technology, theme-related experiences, industry opportunities and more! 

All game submissions must comply with the following content restrictions and terms of use.

Content Restrictions:

• The application form and game submission must not contain any personally identifiable information, including but not limited to the applicant’s full name, address, birth date, social security number or other federal or state identification number. Application forms and/or submissions that incorporate any of this information will be subject to disqualification.

• The submission must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, publicity, copyright, trademark, patent, or intellectual property- or property-related rights.

• The submission must not disparage any person or party affiliated with the promotion and administration of the Challenge.

• The submission must not contain footage, images or artwork not created by applicant unless such footage, images or artwork are included as part of the applicant’s chosen game creation platform, part of Challenge website Theme page content, or applicant has obtained all rights necessary to include such footage, images or artwork as part of a submission to the Challenge.

• The submission must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene, hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous.

• The submission must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.

• The submission must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of or contrary to the laws or regulations in any jurisdiction where the submission is created.

Terms of Use

Each applicant must retain a copy of the submission. Challenge administrators are not responsible for, and each applicant specifically releases Challenge administrators from any claims or liability relating to, any loss or damage to the submission. By entering, each applicant represents and warrants that (a) the applicant’s submission and all components thereof, including all ideas, creative elements and any other materials and information contained in the Submission are wholly original with the applicant, (b) no person or entity has collaborated with applicant in creating the submission (unless the game is made by a team, in which case team members may collaborate only with each other and not any other person or entity), provided any material or information for inclusion in the submission, or has any ownership rights in and to the submission or any component thereof, (c) applicant has the exclusive, unconditional right and authority to submit the submission to the Challenge and grant the rights set forth herein, and (d) the submission complies with these Official Rules in full. Submissions must not contain any material that Challenge administrators, in their sole discretion, deem inappropriate for public viewing and/or determine is contrary to their mission. Challenge administrators reserve the right in their sole discretion to disqualify and/or not accept any submission that Challenge administrators determine does not or is likely not to comply with these guidelines, to make such changes to any submission as are necessary to make it compliant, or to require the applicant to do so.