The five teen girls who won Google's "Change the Game Design Challenge" contest are breaking barriers for women in game development. The winning apps are available in the Google Play Store for download.
Of the hundreds of millions of people around the world who enjoy games on Google Play, 49% are women, yet only 23% of game developers identify as women," Google said when it announced the contest earlier this year.
The contest was meant to empower and celebrate female game makers, players, and creators. Google teamed up with Girls Make Games and the ESA Foundation to offer contestants a shot at a $10,000 scholarship and $15,000 for their school or community center's technology program.
These were the five winners:
The grand prize winning app, Mazu, was developed by Christine, a high school junior in Vancouver, Washington.
"As an aspiring artist in the gaming industry, I don't want to repeat this cycle of gender-based pandering in the future," Christine told USA Today.
Mazu is about a young, shape-shifting girl who makes her way through a challenge-filled forest. Along the way, she encounters and outsmarts predators, unsteady terrain, and hunters.
"Shape-shift Mazu into a mouse, otter, or fox to swiftly avoid obstacles and navigate your way through the forest. Which transformation will you choose?" the app's description read.
The Other Realm
Lily, 14, from Poplar, Wisconsin, was a finalist in Google's competition with her app The Other Realm. The focuses on Isabelle, a girl who wakes up in a giant tree without her memory.
Players solve puzzles to uncover Isabelle's past and interact with strange creatures like Alui to learn about the Realm.
The choices you make in the game have a natural impact on the outcome.
Lauren, 17, from Birmingham, Alabama, was another finalist in the contest. She developed the game Palette.
"'Palette' simulates the eternal struggle of every artist: finding the right color," the app's description read.
The goal of the game is to mix colors together on a palette to match them to well-known paintings like the Mona Lisa. The masterpiece and art history facts are revealed after you mix all the colors correctly.
Symphony was created by Erin, 18, from Freehold, New Jersey. The game tells the story of Serena, a young girl who goes on a quest to find her late grandfather's lost music sheets.
Along the way, players can advance by beating rhythm games to defeat obstacles and add color to the world.
Erin told USA Today that the game is meant to show how music can heal people.
Developing EcoVerse earned Dakota, 14, from Encino, California a spot among the finalists.
EcoVerse is a series of mini-games where the player is a part of the Galactic Restoration Team and can clean, plant, and bring animal life to planets.
In the game, players will restore abandoned planets to worlds teeming with life. Winning games unlock species and tool upgrades. With every restored planet, the games get more challenging.
Dakota told USA Today that she noticed many games centered around destruction and wanted hers to be about rebirth and creation.
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- The five apps developed by teen girls that won Google's "Change the Game Design Challenge" contest are available in the Google Play Store as free downloads.
- The winning games were "Mazu," "The Other Realm," "Symphony," "Pallete," and "EcoVerse."
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