The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research, New York University, and other universities, has announced a design contest the Game Design Challenge to build mini-games for learning on Microsoft s XNA Game Studio 3.1 platform.

Games for Learning Institute

The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research, New York University, and other universities, has announced a design contest—the Game Design Challenge—to build mini-games for learning on Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio 3.1 platform. The contest’s four winners will receive a total of $2,000 in cash prizes.

With research showing that computer games can be valuable learning tools, the G4LI has created a contest in which entrants will create an educational game design. Contestants will outline a specific learning task, then describe how the game determines if the learning goal was achieved. Entries will be judged on technical implementation, educational appropriateness (Does the game address the educational goals relative to its educational content?), and integration of design with game play and educational goals. The game must be submitted in the XNA Game Studio 3.1 platform or have written confirmation from the G4LI Technical Manager, Charley Hendee, at if using another game platform.

Entrants must register by December 5, 2009 (11:59 p.m. EST) by submitting a registration form (download at The contest is open to the general public by meeting the December 5 registration deadline. Entries are due December 12, 2009 (11:59 p.m. EST). The contest’s four winners will be announced at the Game Developers Expo, to be held December 17, 5-7 p.m., at NYU’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center (53 Washington Square South). At the event, all entrants will have the opportunity to demo their games to leading researchers, designers, developers, educators, and representatives from Microsoft Research. For more, go to:

The G4LI is a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research and a consortium of universities. The partners include Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University, and Teachers College as well as NYU. The Institute’s aim is to identify which qualities of computer games engage students and develop relevant, personalized teaching strategies that can be applied to the learning process.

Microsoft Research is providing $1.5 million to the Institute. NYU and its consortium of partners are matching Microsoft’s investment, for a combined $3 million. Funding covers the first three years of the G4LI’s research, which will focus on evaluating computer games as potential learning tools for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at the middle-school years (grades 6–8). The institute will work with a range of student populations, yet focus on underrepresented middle-school students, such as girls and minorities.

About Games for Learning Institute:
The multi-institutional Games for Learning Institute studies the educational use of digital games, and investigates their socio-cultural, cognitive, and emotional impact. We develop design patterns for effective educational games that industry partners can draw on to assure high quality when designing their own games for learning. Our current focus is on games that teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to middle-school students. For more on the G4LI, go to:

Press Contact

James Devitt
James Devitt
(212) 998-6808