The Design Challenge

Of the millions of people in the United States who enjoy games on Google Play, 49% are women. Yet only 23% of game developers are women. To address this disparity, we joined forces with Girls Make Games and ESA Foundation to launch the Change The Game Design Challenge. The program challenged teens to design a game they’d like to play for the chance to win a $10,000 college scholarship and $15,000 for their school’s or community center’s technology program. Top finalists also received a trip to Los Angeles to attend E3, a scholarship to attend Girls Make Games Summer Camp, and more.

Introducing the 5 Finalists

We chose five finalists from thousands of teens who wanted to bring their unique voices to the gaming world. We worked with Girls Make Games to produce, develop and launch their game designs on Google Play. Meet the five winners and hear the inspiring stories behind each of their games.

Introducing the 5 finalist of 2018 video, press enter key to open the video.

Meet The Girls

Meet Christine, Dakota, Erin, Lauren, and Lily, the five finalists of the Change The Game Design Challenge.

1 / 5


17-year-old Christine wove a classic fairy tale with brilliant artistic effort to create “Mazu,” a side-scrolling platformer about a young shapeshifter’s danger-filled journey. The core story and design elements were modeled after Little Red Riding Hood to "carry that essence of familiarity into the character" she says, helping to make the game's protagonist and themes resonate with players. Aesthetically, she challenged herself to illustrate a natural environment through water coloring, producing unique palettes and environments for each stage.

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“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 14-year-old Dakota to create “Ecoverse,” a series of mini-games in which players restore abandoned planets. Infusing ecology and astronomy with the thrill of treasure-hunting, Dakota hopes players will gain an appreciation for nature and awareness of environmental issues.

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3 / 5


Erin, 17, sought to explore the emotional healing and community-building qualities of music through her platform rhythm game, "Symphony." The game’s young protagonist, Serena, embarks on a quest to recover the music sheets to her ill grandfather's favorite score, becoming a talent musician along the way. Erin hopes that her game will inspire players to pursue their passions, believing that “anyone can become their own self-made prodigy.”

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“Art is for everyone, and the magic of painting is that anyone can create grand masterpieces — all it takes is some patience and a little color mixing.” This philosophy inspired Lauren, 17, to design her game “Palette” to simulate the eternal struggle of every artist: finding the right color. Players mix together different colors from the palette to match colors of well-known paintings, revealing real-world color-mixing ratios, and even art history facts.

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5 / 5

The Other Realm

Emotions and eyes. These two windows into the soul inspired Lily, 14, to create “The Other Realm,” a puzzle adventure game focused on self-identity. Lily wanted to deviate from violent content, focusing instead on elements that could elicit strong emotional responses from her players. To support this goal, she used her fascination with the anatomy and emotions of eyes, proposing that “eyes can hold emotion that you might not necessarily notice.”

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