Student Game Competition

Quick Facts

  • Important Dates:
    • Submission deadline: 13 January 2016 (5:00pm PST)
    • Notification deadline: 29 January 2016
    • Publication-ready deadline: 5 February 2016
  • Submission Details:
    • Online Submission: PCS Submission System
    • Submission Format: 4 page paper in Extended Abstracts Format, Game Demonstration, Video Trailer, and proof of all team members’ student status.
    • For this venue, references DO count towards page length.
    • Submissions are not anonymous and should include all author names, affiliations, and contact information
  • Selection process: Juried
  • Chairs: Katherine Isbister, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, and Jessica Hammer (
  • At the conference: Finalists (top three in each category) will present their games at the Student Game Competition Event. 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; ACM Digital Library


Message from the Student Game Competition Chairs

This is the fifth year of the Student Game Competition within CHI. 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.

Students can submit their game to *one* of these three categories, which will be judged separately by a qualified jury:

  • Games for a Purpose: Games submitted to this category should be games that are designed not just to entertain, but also to accomplish some other goal. Example areas include games for health, learning games, journalistic games. Students that submit games to this category should be prepared to explain their intention, design practice 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 have 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, multi-screen 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.
  • Innovative Game Design: Games submitted to this category should be games that push the boundaries of current game mechanics and/or design. Examples include games that add novel mechanics that have not been used before, add new visual or audio themes/dynamics, explore new mixes of mechanics, story and character elements, automated techniques for adaptive designs, or explore new forms of interaction that are thought provoking. Students that submit games to this category should be prepared to explain in the Extended Abstract how their design establish a new contribution within game design and should articulate why it is innovative and how it advances the current state-of-the-art.

The Student Game Competition follows a two stage process:

  1. Students will submit their game to the competition. Expert reviewers will evaluate these submissions and a maximum of 3 finalists for each of the categories will be selected to attend the CHI conference.
  2. Each finalist will be expected to send at least one member to attend the conference to demonstrate the game and to take part in a presentation and award ceremony.

Attendance at the CHI 2016 conference is mandatory for selected games to reach stage 2 of the above process.

All finalists earn a Certificate of Recognition. The winning entry in each of the three categories will be recognized and announced at the Student Game Competition Event as well as mentioned at the closing plenary session of the CHI conference.

Katherine Isbister, Game Innovation Lab, New York University, USA
Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, Exertion Games Lab, RMIT University, Australia
Jessica Hammer, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

CHI 2016 Student Game Competition Co-Chairs


Preparing and Submitting your Student Game Competition Submission

The submission must include:

  • A demonstration of the game with at least one fully polished level: Depending on the hardware required to play the game, the demonstration must be either an executable or a gameplay video:
    • If the game is playable on Windows/Mac/Linux PC or laptop, Windows/iOS/Android phone or tablet, XBox 360 (with Kinect), Playstation 3 (with Move), Wii, Wii U, DS, 3DS, PSP, PS Vita, or any individual piece of hardware combined with a PC (ie, a tablet and a PC, or a Kinect and a PC) you must submit a game executable with at least one fully polished level. You must also submit clear and complete instructions for how to install and run the game.
    • If the game is not playable on the above hardware, you must submit a maximum 4 minute gameplay video clearly showing both the screen (if present) and the player interacting with the game.
  • A link to a brief video ‘trailer’ that gives an overview of the game (2 minutes long maximum).
  • Extended abstract: Student should submit a non-anonymized paper (4 pages) written in the Extended Abstracts Format. Paper should include:
    • 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).
    • Acknowledgement of any assistance drawn from outside (advisors, faculty, domain experts, existing solutions, users, etc.)
  • 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
    • B) proof of registration in a 2015 semester. Each team must provide one proof package – a single file containing a scanned proof document for each team member – together with their project submission.

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.

There is no strict limit on team size, but team size will be taken into consideration when judging and larger teams will be expected to produce more ambitious submissions. 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 leverage multi-disciplinarity and diversities of all kinds.


Student Game Competition Selection Process

The Student Game Competition is a juried track for CHI 2016. Each game will be reviewed by both academic and professional experts in game design and development, with emphasis on expertise in the 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).
Submissions should not contain sensitive, private, or proprietary information that cannot be disclosed at publication time. Submissions should NOT be anonymous. However, confidentiality of submissions will be maintained during the review process. All rejected submissions will be kept confidential in perpetuity. All submitted materials for accepted submissions will be kept confidential until the start of the conference, with the exception of title and author information which will be published on the website prior to the conference.


At the Conference

Three finalist submissions for each of the categories will be invited to CHI 2016 to present their games.

Students should be prepared to bring along a playable demo of the game and all necessary hardware for an Interactivity session. At the Student Game Competition Event, each finalist will give a brief (5 minute) presentation about their game. Category winners will be announced during the event.


After the Conference

Accepted Student Games Competition Extended Abstracts will be distributed in the CHI Conference Extended Abstracts, available on USB and in the ACM Digital Library.