- Google ran a contest called Change the Game that encouraged young girls to submit ideas for mobile games.
- The five finalists of Change the Game were selected a few months ago, but now early versions of their game ideas are playable.
- The five games are Mazu, EcoVerse, The Other Realm, Symphony, and Palette.
In March, Google announced a new contest called Change the Game, in which young people can submit their ideas for video games. In June, Google selected one grand prize winner and four finalists, all young girls between the ages of 14 and 18.
Now, the five games those teen finalists imagined are here as playable Android games which you can download from the Google Play Store. The games are still early builds, with the final versions due to arrive in December. However, you can still give them a try.
The five finalists worked with the group Girls Make Games to create the mobile games. The Girls Make Games organization and Google’s Change the Game contest hope to draw attention to the fact that there is a huge disparity between the number of women who play games and the number of women who create them. According to a Google-commissioned study, 50 percent of game players are female while only 23 percent of the game-making industry is female.
You can check out the winning titles below:
Grand Prize Winner: Christine, 17 years old, from Vancouver, Washington
Christine is the creator of “Mazu,” a side-scrolling platform game about a young shapeshifter’s journey through a danger-infested forest. As a long time gamer, Christine noticed early on the clear distinction between games made for girls and games made for boys. “As an aspiring artist in the gaming industry, I don’t want to repeat this cycle of gender-based pandering in the future,” says Christine. Her goal in developing a game was to create a memorable challenge that could be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of gender.
Finalist: Dakota, 14 years old, from Encino, California
Dakota’s game, “EcoVerse,” is a series of minigames to clean, plant, and bring animal life to planets as part of the Galactic Restoration Team. “Many games center around destruction and tearing things down—what if I made a game about building things up and rebirth?” This question and a passion for living eco-consciously inspired Dakota to create “Ecoverse.”
Finalist: Lily, 14 years old, from Poplar, Wisconsin
Lily was inspired by emotions and eyes—two windows into the soul—to create “The Other Realm,” a puzzle adventure game focused on self-identity. “The game is about looking at things through a different lens,” she says, adding that “eyes can hold emotion that you might not necessarily notice.” After being named a top five finalist, Lily is now exploring game design as a field of study to pursue.
Finalist: Erin, 18 years old, from Freehold, New Jersey
Erin created “Symphony,” a rhythm game which explores music as a means for a young girl to connect with her deceased grandfather to showcase the healing properties of music. Erin says that through practice and love of craft “anyone can become their own self-made prodigy.” After participating in the Design Challenge, Erin is now interested in entering the gaming industry.
Finalist: Lauren, 17 years old, from Birmingham, Alabama
Lauren’s game, “Palette,” simulates the eternal struggle of every artist: finding the right color. Reveal famous paintings throughout history by mixing different colors from a palette to match a target color. According to Lauren, “Change The Game taught me that the game industry embraces people with all interests, from musicians to programmers.” Lauren now plans on pursuing a future in game development.