Each of the competition’s regional divisions (NortheastSouthMidwest, and West) will recognize winners in the following categories:

  • Climate Action Heroes – Junior level
  • Climate Action Heroes – Senior level
  • Give Peace a Chance – Junior level
  • Give Peace a Chance – Senior level
  • Positive Play: Designing a Digital Utopia – Junior level
  • Positive Play: Designing a Digital Utopia – Senior level
  • *Game Accessibility Challenge
  • *XR Innovation Challenge
  • *Made With Unity Award
  • *Fair Game Writing Challenge
  • *Character Design Award
  • Regional Champion – Junior level
  • Regional Champion – Senior level

*Denotes Specialty Award Categories

Regional Champions will advance to compete on the national level for the chance to win the title of National Champion (National Champions will receive a $10,000 scholarship, generously provided by Take-Two Interactive).

Find out more about our Specialty Award categories below.

Game Accessibility Challenge

Games about one of this year’s 3 Themes that include accessibility features will be considered for this award.

Designing for accessibility means introducing one or more accessibility features to support the gameplay experience for players with different types of disabilities (visual, auditory, motor, and/or cognitive/learning). When we design in a more inclusive way, we break down barriers that prevent some people from playing and enjoying games and ultimately create a more positive gaming experience for everyone!

Judging Criteria:

Projects submitted to the Game Accessibility Challenge will be evaluated by a panel of expert game designers according to the following rubric:


Written Summary

  • Are the accessibility challenges this entry aims to address clearly stated on the submission form?


Design Solution:

  • How easily can the game be played by someone with the disabilities the game was designed for?
  • Did the entry meet the criteria the entrants set for themselves in the summary?
  • Does the solution provide a creative and elegant innovation that improves the user experience for all players?
  • How well does the game design consider the intended players’ unique needs?


Difficulty of Challenge Attempted

  • How challenging were the needs that the game designer set out to meet?
  • Did the accessibility considerations cross into many areas of design or just a few?

Powered by


Games about one of this year’s 3 Themes that were created for an extended reality experience will be considered for this award.

Extended reality includes augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Games can be created using CoSpaces or any other similar platform as long as it meets the Challenge’s game guidelines. Don’t know where to start? Check out or CoSpaces curriculum

If you need access to CoSpaces, please email [email protected].


Supported by


Games about one of this year’s 3 Themes that were created using the Unity design platform will be considered for this award.

Games will be judged by Unity experts. To learn more about how to use this game design platform, visit the Unity website for tutorials, getting started tips, and more.

Fair Game Writing Challenge

sponsored by


The Fair Game Writing Challenge is a competitive writing award category and scholarship. To participate, students submit two writing samples: an original Poem and a critical Video Game Review. There is no digital game-making involved in this award category. Students will work on their writing samples as an individual (no teams). Students are limited to one Fair Game entry each, containing both of the following writing samples:

  1. Poem (minimum 300 words): Write a social justice-oriented poem about a video game and how it affected your emotions. Did they make you feel happy, angry, or sad? Did it help you through a difficult time? The poem can be in any style of your choice (free verse, rhyming, etc.).
  2. Video Game Review (600-750 words): Write a review of your favorite video game and share what it means to you. This writing sample should be formatted according to the following two resources: Game Review Checklist and How To Outline A Game Review. Resources are best viewed through a personal email address.

Fair Game submissions will be reviewed by panels of expert journalists and game executives. One student winner will be selected from each of the 4 Challenge regions. Winners will receive a $600 cash prize, special mentorship opportunities from expert video game journalists and critics, and a potential publication opportunity.


Judging Criteria:

Expert judges will evaluate each writing sample according to the following criteria:



  • Clarity of writing
  • Creativity of writing
  • Social justice theme
  • Ability to bring yourself/your life into the poem


Video Game Review:

  • Clarity of writing 
  • Ability to follow our review guidelines (above)
  • Ability to show you’ve played with purpose and can bring yourself/your life into review
  • Creativity of writing


The Games for Change website contains a library of 200+ recommended games for learning and social impact. Check them out here!