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Student Game Competition

A schedule of all due dates can be found on the Submissions page.

Student Game Competition Quick Facts

  • Submission deadline: 9 Jan 2012 PCS Submission System
  • Notification: 10 Feb 2012
  • Camera Ready: 17 Feb 2012
  • Submission Format: Executable for the game, camera-ready non-anonymized 6-page extended abstract in Extended Abstract Format, max 4-page game installation description. Entries may also include a link to a game play video.
  • At the Conference: Finalists (top three in each category) will present their games at the award ceremony. Each finalist will also prepare and host a playable version of the game at the conference for a scheduled demo/play session.
  • Archives: Extended abstracts; DVD and ACM Digital Library

Message from the Student Game Competition Chairs

The competition is aimed at meeting the following goals:

  • Provide an opportunity for students from a variety of backgrounds (HCI, computer science, game design, fine arts) to participate in CHI and demonstrate their game design and development skills in an international competition.
  • Provide CHI attendees with engaging and playable exemplar games that showcase emerging student talent, and inspire future work.

Seth Cooper, University of Washington
Winslow Burleson, Arizona State University
Katherine Isbister, Polytechnic Institute of NYU
Regina Bernhaupt, ICS-IRIT, France

The Student Game Competition

The student game competition is new within CHI. Students can submit their game to either of these categories (which will be judged separately, by a qualified jury):

Serious Games: Games submitted to this category should be games that are designed not just to entertain, but also to accomplish some end goal. Example areas include games for health, learning games, journalistic games. Students that submit games to this category should be prepared to explain their design and evaluation process in the Extended Abstract—what background research informed their design choices (in particular grounding in the target application area and existing game-based efforts in this domain), and how they will know if they’ve achieved the impact they seek (evaluation strategies).

Innovative Interface: Games submitted to this category should be games that push the boundaries of current interface practice. Example areas include the use of gesture, multi-touch, or haptics; voice input; use of sensors such as breathing or heart rate; and augmented reality games for mobile platforms. Students that submit games to this category should be prepared to explain in the Extended Abstract how their design is positioned within the current state-of-the-art in the chosen interface/input domain, and should articulate why it is innovative and how it advances the current state-of-the-art.

To enter the competition, students must submit an executable version of their game (that engages the players for at least a 10-minute session), a link to a short (2-3 minutes) video ‘trailer’ that includes gameplay footage, and a maximum four-page description of the game project and the installation requirements (including any hardware requirements), along with an Extended Abstract (6 pages) describing the work.

The Competition Structure

The competition follows a two-step process.

  1. Students will submit the executable game, a link to a short video ‘trailer’ (2-3 minutes) that includes gameplay footage, and a paper in the Extended Abstract Format (6 pages maximum) describing their game with a max 4-page description of technical installation requirements. Expert reviewers will evaluate these submissions and a maximum of 3 finalists for each of the two categories will be selected to attend the CHI conference.
  2. Accepted projects will be expected to send at least one member to attend the conference to present the game and to take part in a presentation and award ceremony. The top game for each category will be announced in the games competition award ceremony on Tueday, 8 May 2012. Each of the top three will have 5 minutes to briefly present their game to the audience.

Attendance at the CHI 2012 conference is mandatory for selected games to reach stage 2 of the above process.

Round One: Submission

Teams should prepare the executable game, link to video trailer (2-3 minutes), and a camera-ready unanonymized Extended Abstract (6 pages maximum) written in the Extended Abstracts format. The game and the max 4-page technical installation requirement document should be submitted to the PCS submission system by 9 Jan 2012. Uploaded game executable must be no larger than 25 MB in size (if the game is larger, you may choose to submit a link to a file sharing service so that the jury can download the game individually, but please keep download time in mind and realize that a game that cannot be downloaded cannot be reviewed). If the game requires special hardware/peripherals/operating system, this must be clearly indicated in the installation document, and you should plan on submitting a pc-enabled version of the game so that we can still observe gameplay first-hand (also, note in the document if you would be able to send us sample hardware which supports your game, upon request). We will do our best to ensure that all submissions are reviewed regardless of hardware constraints. If the team would like to submit a link to a game play video, that should be included in the Extended Abstract.

This submission must include:

  • A playable game executable with at least one fully polished level that engages the player for at least 10 minutes.
  • Clear and complete instructions for how to install and run the game, and any technical requirements, maximum 4 pages.
  • A link to a brief video ‘trailer’ that includes gameplay, 2-3 minutes long.
  • An Extended Abstract that includes:
    • An overview of the game itself, and the design and development process, with screenshots/images of play.
    • Positioning of the game in terms of related work, including references and outlining the game’s unique contribution (see game categories above for more detail about each category’s guidelines).
    • Game play video link (if the student(s) choose to include one).
    • Acknowledgement of any assistance drawn from outside (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.)
  • Proof of student status.

All submissions must be in English and must include title and author information, including author affiliations. Please be sure that submissions do not contain proprietary or confidential material and do not cite proprietary or confidential publications. Due to tight publication schedules, revisions will not be possible. The submitted PDF version will be considered the final version of the paper.

Specific guidelines for preparing your submission: Uploaded game executable must be no larger than 25 MB in size. If the game requires special hardware/peripherals/operating system, this must be clearly indicated in the installation document. We will do our best to ensure that all submissions are reviewed regardless of hardware constraints.

Round Two: Presentations and Awards

Three finalist submissions for each of the two categories will be invited to CHI 2012 to present their games. Students should be prepared to bring along a playable demo of the game for an Interactivity session, as well as a brief (5-minute) presentation about their game for the 80-minute presentation event. Winners will be announced for both categories at the conference, during this event.

Reviewing Criteria

Each game will be reviewed by both academic and professional experts in game design and development, with emphasis on expertise in the two entry categories.

Finalists and award winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Quality and originality of game play itself (determined through game play).
  • Positioning and articulation of the game’s contribution to the submission category domain (determined through Extended Abstract).


All finalists earn a Certificate of Recognition. The winning entry in each category will be recognized during the award ceremony and will be additionally mentioned in the closing plenary session of the CHI 2012 conference.


Proof of Student Status

To be eligible for the student competition, all participants must provide either A) a signed letter from their academic supervisor confirming that at least 50% of their working week is spent following an academic course of study, and that they were not employed within games-related industries when working on the team's submission, or B) proof of registration and completion of the Fall semester of 2011. Each team must provide one proof package - a single file containing a scanned proof document for each team member - together with their project submission.

Student Team Requirements

Teams can range from one to five students. There is no limit to the number of teams that may compete from any given University. Submissions are invited from all students at all stages of their university careers, from undergraduate to postgraduate. While not a mandatory requirement, it is strongly encouraged that the teams put forward a multidisciplinary, multi-national team.