Frequently Asked Questions

About the Competition

What is the competition about?

The primary goal of the competition is to motivate young people to design and develop original video games. We believe that designing and developing a video game carries with it significant benefits for the creator including

  • Introducing young people to Computer Science and giving them a context and motivation in which to engage with computational thinking and coding;
  • Encouraging design and systems-based thinking and helping to cultivate the associated skills;
  • Giving young people an opportunity to design with intentionality and with an audience and purpose in mind;
  • Encouraging innovation and creative problem solving;
  • Exposing young designers to the iterative and collaborative design process and the game creation process more broadly.

In addition to these benefits, making a game about a topic requires the creator to learn about and develop deep, systemic understanding of that topic.

Who is behind the competition?


Who is the competition for?

The competition is open to young people around the world between the ages of 10 and 18.

The competition is organized into two age divisions: a Junior Division for entrants ages 10-13 and a Senior Division for entrants ages 14-18. Entries in the Junior Division are not in competition with those in the Senior Division.

You may not participate in the competition if you reside in a location where your participation is prohibited by law. Please review the Official Rules for detailed eligibility information.

I am younger than 10 or older than 18. Can an exception be made so I can participate in the Challenge?
What is the entry period?
Do I need permission from my parent/guardian to enter the competition?
Can I work on an entry with other people?
If I am working on a team entry, can my team include participants from different age divisions?
Does each member of a team need to register an account on the competition website in order to submit an entry?
Can I submit more than one entry to the competition?


How do you define "game" and "video game" for purposes of the competition?

We define a game as “a voluntary activity structured by rules, with a defined outcome (winning, losing) or other quantifiable feedback (e.g., points)” (My Thai et al., 2010). A video game is a game where play is facilitated exclusively (or almost exclusively) through the use of a computer (consoles, mobile devices and VR hardware are all examples of computers).

Games generally have the following six elements:

  • Space -- The area and layout of the physical world or a virtual environment in which the game takes place;
  • Goals -- The positive outcomes players are trying to achieve;
  • Challenges -- Factors that make it difficult for players to achieve their goals;
  • Components -- The things in the physical or virtual game world: the ‘nouns’ of the game;
  • Mechanics -- The things players do when they play the game: the ‘verbs’ of the game;
  • Rules -- Factors that dictate what players can and cannot do while playing the game.
What should my game be about?
How do I submit my game to the competition?
Do I have to do anything special to submit my game to a thematic track?
What are the requirements for entries?
What language can my game be in? Do you plan to support additional languages in the future?

Game-Making and Tools

What tool(s) can I use to make my game? Can I use a tool not listed on the Code Games site? Can I use [insert specific tool here]?

Short answer: You can use any tool you want as long as the playable game you submit meets the Submission Guidelines described in the Official Rules. Each age division includes an “Open Platform” track for entries made with creation tools other than those specifically listed on the Code Games site.

Longer answer: While we cannot offer specific guidance on every game-making tool out there, here is some general advice:

  • In the resources section of the site, you will find information on many different game-making tools. You’ll find everything from tools specifically designed for inexperienced game makers all the way up to the ones the pros use. You can safely use any tool listed here.
  • If you would like to use a tool that isn't listed, that's still probably OK. But you should do a little research first. If you're on the younger side, you may want to ask a parent or teacher to help you with this research. Start by reviewing the Submission Guidelines in the Official Rules, then look into the tool you are planning to use. Pay attention to these two points especially:
    • In the end, the game you submit has to be playable by our judges in a web browser or on a PC/Mac/Linux computer, iOS or Android device. And the judges need to be able to play it without having to buy any special hardware, software or purchase a subscription to something.
    • You need to have a legal right to the game you make, and to share it with others. Certain game-making tools may limit your ability to distribute your game. You will want to look for and review documents like your tool's "Licensing Agreement" or "Terms of Use" to see if this is the case.

The people operating the Challenge can't do this research for you or provide a determination about a specific tool, so please do not contact us asking for a 'ruling.'

Because the capabilities of game-making tools vary significantly, we have established separate tracks for games made with several different tools. Games in one platform-specific track are not in competition with games in a different one. Please see the Official Rules for more information.

I don’t know how to program or I don’t have access to a computer to make my game. Can I still enter the competition?

Intellectual Property

Can I use Intellectual Property (e.g. ideas, characters, art, music, software libraries, etc.) in my game that I (or my teammates) did not personally create?

Your game’s design, world, characters and narrative, if present, must be the original work of you (or you and your teammates in the team tracks) and no one else. For example, your game can’t copy the level design of your favorite commercial game or include characters from another game, movie, book or TV show.

Aside from those elements, you may include material owned or created by someone else -- for example music, art or software code -- as long as you have a legal right to use the material. Many game-making tools include music, art and software libraries with content that creators can use and distribute in their own games. Consult your tool’s documentation and the Official Rules for more information.

If I submit my game to the competition, what happens to my original Intellectual Property?

Judging and Prizes

What prizes do the winners receive?

In 2020, the winner of each Grand Prize for games created in the thematic tracks received

  • A $2,000 USD cash prize
  • Copies of several pieces of game-making and learning software

The winners of the other, platform-specific tracks received

  • A $1,000 USD cash prize
  • Copies of several pieces of game-making and learning software
What criteria are used to judge entries?
I understand that one goal of the competition is to get participants to engage with coding. How important is the technical side to the judging of my project?
How is the judging process conducted?
How will potential winners be notified?
Code Games Challenge: Frequently Asked Questions Creating a better world starts with imagining one. Young innovators ages 10-18 across the globe are invited to create original video games. Presented by Endless and developed by XPRIZE Connect and E-Line Media /images/CodeGamesOGDefaultImage_3.jpg