US City Launching Game Design Competition to Help Teach Life Skills

Competition calls on creators to make games about Buffalo, NY that teach life skills, promote diversity, and are fun to play.

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Buffalo, New York mayor Byron Brown has announced a city-wide "Serious Game Design Competition," calling on creators to build a game about Buffalo that teaches life skills, highlights the importance of diversity, and is fun to play. The winning game will embody the the goals listed below.

  • Teach life skills and employable skills that lead to meaningful employment;
  • Highlight the importance of diversity in society and in the workplace;
  • Develop a video game that educates and is fun to play, while promoting the City of Buffalo;
  • Create an electronic game that can be played on multiple formats (i.e. phone or tablet app, Computer, game console).

The first stage of the Serious Computer Game Design Competition will take place March 20-22, 2015 at the Buffalo Game Space in the Tri-Main Building Suite. It's a game jam of sorts, as designers will have two days to create their game.

In the first round, the top three finalists will receive cash prizes of $1,250, $750, and $500 respectively, and also earn a chance to advanced to round two. This event takes place in April, and will see the three finalists submitting their games to a panel of expert judges.

The winner will receive a cash reward of $5,000. Presumably, the game will be released publicly later on, though official plans were not specified.

The Game Design Competition will be conducted with the help of Przemyslaw “P.J." Moskal, an associate professor in the Department of Digital Media Arts at Canisius College in Buffalo.

"I'm excited and surprised that the mayor proposed this type of competition because it rarely comes from government," Moskal told Buffalo News. "We’re like underground game developers in Buffalo, and all of a sudden the mayor's office is contacting us to do this. So that was really, really great."

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