The Design Challenge is now over. See the finalists!
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We are proud to announce the grand prize winner and finalists for the Change The Game Design Challenge.

> Learn about Change The Game

The Winners

Grade 11
Change The Game logo

Mazu is a platform puzzle game exploring the immersive world created by Christine’s original and inspiring artwork. The player controls Mazu, a young shape-shifting child, and learns to survive challenging situations with the help of various woodland creatures. The game captures the exhilarating and scary process of exploring new environments, while also growing up, through an engaging story.

To me, video games have never been just a means of entertainment. I believe that video games act as a form of interactive art capable of shaping cultures and bringing people together.

Grade 8

Making a game requires not only an understanding of code and design but also an understanding of people.

In EcoVerse, the player restores trashed, abandoned planets across the galaxy into beautiful worlds, once again thriving with life. Dakota’s imaginative graphics and landscapes weave together important themes of ecology and astronomy with the fun of a treasure hunt. It captivates players by providing creative incentives to move and advance through imaginative planets.

The Other Realm
The Other Realm
Grade 9

I feel like too many games we play nowadays are violent and include killing and guns. I wanted to create a game that wasn't focused on killing, but healing and discovery.

The Other Realm is an RPG, adventure, and puzzle game all in one. Set in a giant, but damaged tree, the player heals the tree and uncovers mysteries about the characters’ personalities and backstories. Lily designed her game to be an alternative to the violence found in so many games today, by requiring the player to rely on healing to advance, thus fostering a deep connection between players.

Grade 12

For me, whenever I'm having a bad day, music can get me into the groove and instantly brightens up my day.

Symphony is a story-driven rhythm game about a famous musician's granddaughter and her quest to find his favorite music, which is scattered throughout the world. Erin uses innovative game mechanics to tell the touching story between a young girl and her ill grandfather as they connect through music. The beautiful, dimensional drawings bring this creative and immersive storyline to life.

Grade 11

My inspiration came from art class. Because our school's art supplies do not include a wide variety of colors, I have to mix my own paints.

Palette takes a common struggle for artists - mixing the perfect color - and turns it into a fun, creative game. The player has to collect and mix the colors needed to reveal a famous painting. Lauren’s game takes a unique approach to game design, and incorporates many relatable emotions, like confusion, frustration, and satisfaction, while teaching players about color theory and art history.

Honorable Mentions

The Search for Shelly
15, Oregon
The Creator of Games
15, Ohio
17, California
Language Barrier
18, Arizona
Universal Love
18, California
16, Tennessee
ReLife: Aboveground
17, California
Kingdom of Ezerd
15, Ohio
Space Adventures
16, New York
Solar Power Girl
13, New York

The Prizes


Four Finalists each won:

  • Trip to Los Angeles to attend:
    • An exclusive experience at E3 celebrating women in gaming
    • A tour of Google LA office
  • Scholarship to Girls Make Games Summer Camp
  • An Android tablet

The Grand Prize Winner also received:

  • $10,000 college scholarship
  • $15,000 technology contribution to their school
  • Plus, everything the Finalists received

Guest Judges

Lisette Titre-Montgomery
Art Manager
Double Fine Productions
Dalila Nelson
Software Engineer
Jam City
Samantha Ryan
SVP, EA Mobile/Maxis/Bioware Studios
Laila Shabir
CEO + Founder
Girls Make Games
Paige Harazin-Masi
Head of Studio Operations Pocket Gems
Mary Casey
Executive Director of Product WB Games
Shelby Moledina
Director of Product
WB Games

Contest Rules

This contest closed on May 16, 2018. Thank you to everyone who entered.



What is the "Change The Game Design Challenge?"

The Change The Game Design Challenge is a contest open to persons aged 13-18 in the United States. Teens are invited to create their own idea for a mobile game for a chance to win a VIP trip to Los Angeles to attend an exclusive experience at E3 that celebrates women in gaming, and much more.

Why is Google Play doing this contest?

The majority (60%) of women who play mobile games think that 30% or fewer of mobile games are made for women. [1] In order to have more mobile games made for women, we need more women making games. We’re looking to the next generation of game-makers to drive change in the game industry.

What is the Change The Game program?

Change The Game is Google Play’s program to support women in mobile gaming. We are on a mission to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators. We are committed to promoting diversity in and of games, celebrating players, and empowering the next generation of game makers.

What is the ESA Foundation?

Change The Game has joined forces with the ESA Foundation for this challenge. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Foundation is a nonprofit committed to making a difference in the lives of America’s youth by harnessing the collective power of the video game industry. Like us, the ESA Foundation seeks to empower women and girls as creators. Through their grants program and scholarship fund they are fostering the next generation of video game makers.

What is Girls Make Games?

Change The Game has teamed up with Girls Make Games for this challenge. Girls Make Games runs award winning summer camps, workshops and game jams to inspire girls ages 8-18 to explore the world of creating video games. Launched in 2014 in Mountain View, CA, the program has now grown to 44 cities worldwide.

Who is allowed to enter the contest?

The entry form must be submitted by a parent or legal guardian of the entrant. The entrant must be aged 13 - 18 years old. The Game Idea Form and the Written Statement must represent the entrant’s original work.

How old must the contest entrants be?

Entrants to the challenge must be aged between 13 and 18 years old on the date of submitting their mobile game design idea to the challenge.

Can teachers enter the contest on behalf of their classrooms?

Teachers are encouraged to use designing your own game idea as a classroom activity with their students. The official entry form must be submitted by a parent or legal guardian of the student. The grand prize winner will win a $15,000 technology contribution for their school.

Is there a limit to how many submissions a person can enter?

Only one submission per Entrant will be accepted. If more than one submissions is entered, only the first will be considered for judging.

Do you accept group entries?

We will not submit game design ideas that have been created by more than one person. Each game design idea should be created by only one person.

Do entrants have to be U.S. citizens to participate?

Yes, at the time of entering the doodle, the entrant must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. legal resident (e.g., must be able to show proof of legal permanent residence, for example, a "green card").

What types of sketches, wireframes, or additional documentation can we upload?

Entrants are encouraged to provide as much visual information about their game design idea as they’d like to provide. We’d love to see sketches of game environments, game mechanics, level design, avatar or character design, mobile wireframes, or anything else that will help us connect with your game design.

What format must the sketches, wireframes, or additional documentation be in?

All documentation must be uploaded in .jpg or .pdf format with a maximum file size of 100mb. You may scan or take a picture of your sketches to upload to the entry form. If you have multiple pages to submit, entrants are encouraged to use a multi-page PDF.

Can I mail-in my entry form?

No. All challenge entries must be submitted online.

How is the contest judged?

The challenge will be judged the Guest Judges and a panel of Google employees.

Each Game Idea Form (85%) will be evaluated and scored based on the following criteria: 1) Comprehensiveness of game concept 2) Creativity and Originality 3) Quality of game mechanics 4) Quality of game narrative, if any 5) Degree of mobile device compatibility . The Written Statement (15%) will be judged on its content, informative nature, and scope.

A look at the world of women and mobile gaming.
Ready for a little adventure?

Play The Game

The Landscape

There’s been lots of conversation within the gaming community about gender and inclusivity, but little research about how these issues impact the mobile space.

Google Play partnered with gaming intelligence provider Newzoo on a quantitative study to understand the experiences and perceptions of female players in the US, and worked with dozens of game makers, critics, players and academics to contextualize our findings.


Our Commitments

Google Play believes that mobile gaming has the potential to inspire creativity, build connections between people, and serve as a gateway to new worlds and passions. There’s an opportunity to make mobile gaming more diverse, more inclusive, and more engaging so all players can fully experience these benefits.

Our mission is to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators. To do this, we’re committed to improving gender diversity in three areas of the mobile gaming world. While moving the needle won’t be easy, we are determined to keep working toward long-term change.


Diversity In and
Of Mobile Gaming

Today, games with male themes and characters monopolize the spotlight. We envision a future full of unique, inclusive stories to play. Here are some of the steps we are taking to help make this future a reality.


The Full Spectrum of Female
Players and Experiences.

Even though 65% of US women play mobile games, there’s a pervasive belief that most players are men, and that when women do play, they’re only interested in one type of game.

We aim to right misconceptions by recognizing the full spectrum of interests, experiences and play styles of women who play, as well as the diversity of players.


The Next Generation
of Game-Makers

Today, women are significantly underrepresented in the gaming industry, and in technology on the whole.

To combat this gender gap, it’s critical to get girls excited about gaming and aware of future possibilities in these fields. That’s why we’re committed to creating more opportunities for young women to learn about and get involved in game-making.

Are you sure you want to exit the story and go back to home?

Back to Home


Scroll to Begin

Why we play:

The world of women and mobile gaming

There’s been little research on gender and inclusivity in the mobile gaming space.

Google Play wanted to learn how welcoming mobile gaming really is for everyone.

We partnered with Newzoo on a study to gain a better understanding of female mobile gamers in the US.

We hope this can be the start of an important conversation for women and other underrepresented communities.

are Gaming in Unprecedented Numbers


of women aged 10-65 play mobile games


Half of
mobile gamers
are women

Mobile is Democratizing Gaming


of men

prefer mobile
over other platforms

How often do
women play?


of men


of women

play 5 times per week or more
Where do
women play?
at home
the bathroom
in bed
Why do
women play?
restful moment
stress reliever
How do they feel
when they play?


say that it
makes them
feel good.

Level 1 complete!

Play the game
or scroll to Level 2

While many assume more men than women play games, this is no longer the case for mobile.

With smartphones it's now possible to play nearly anywhere at any time.

More smartphones
means more women
are playing.




who play2

The World of Mobile Games Still isn’t Wholly Inclusive.
Even our own Google Play Store features more male-identified characters than female ones.
Google Play’s top 100 grossing games feature 44% more male characters than female characters in the app icon. 4
The majority of women who play mobile games think that 30% or fewer of these games are made for women.
There’s Evidence of Systematic Gender Bias in Gameplay
"I would spend more time playing mobile games if I knew I was playing with or against players of my own gender”
This disparity is even greater among those who play 10+ hours/week.
vs 10% of women
When Men Prefer to Game Only with Each Other, Female Players May Feel Less Welcome
Half of female PC and console gamers have concealed their gender to other players. 5
Women are Underrepresented in the Gaming Industry
The industry’s lack of diversity limits its ability to build games that appeal to a wide and diverse audience.
Only 23% of women and 40% of men feel that there is equal treatment and opportunity in the game industry.7

Level 3 complete!

Scroll to Level 4

Women are less likely to...

Gender Bias Has A Negative Impact On The Women Who Play

Women are gaming more
than ever
, but are less likely than men to embrace their play.

Explore a variety
of genres

The majority of women play
2 or fewer genres. The majority of
men play 3 or more.

about play with friends

in mobile gaming

Value their

Identify as gamers

"I think that women just don't feel that the space is meant for them. They might think that one small part is meant for them. But not all of it."

­—Shira Chess, author of Ready Player Two:
Women Gamers and Designed Identity
The Road Ahead
We believe there’s an opportunity to make mobile gaming more diverse, inclusive, and engaging.
Our mission is to make mobile gaming truly for everyone by celebrating and empowering women as players and creators.
"It’s incredibly hopeful that women are playing games even when they don’t see themselves represented. Imagine if we changed that - it would be like taking down a dam.”
- Jessica Hammer, Assistant Professor at the HCII/ETC at CMU
Promote Diversity in (and of) Games
We’re shining a spotlight on strong female characters in the Google Play Store’s Indie Corner.
We created Infinite Deviation: Games so emerging game-makers can bring more inclusive stories to life.
Celebrate the Full Spectrum of Female Players and Experiences
By highlighting the diversity of gaming interests and experiences of female players, we can fight the perception that gaming is just for men.
We’re spreading the word that (nearly) everybody plays and have more efforts planned to continue this mission.
Empower the Next Generation of Game-Makers
It’s critical to get girls excited and aware of their future possibilities in gaming and tech.
We’re partnering with Girls Make Games to create opportunities for girls to envision, design and develop mobile games.
Through Google’s Made With Code, we’re teaching teen girls to develop games and more through code.
Going forward, we’ll continue to build and scale programs for skills development, career opportunities, and mentorship.
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