Cross Cultural Games Challenge

2013 Spring Competition is now live!

Congratulations to the winner of first ever TC Cross Cultural Games Incubator competition -- Wordcraft Wizards, and to the two runner ups: Phone Words and Wonderful Wizards of Words. The three projects out of the original 24 submissions have been selected for incubation.

Want to make the next great educational game? Are you good at programming, design, or have great ideas? Partner with the Games Research Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University to create an online educational game (online game or mobile app) that teaches English vocabulary for non-native learners (SAT, TOEFL, GRE, etc.)!

You could win $1000 in prize money plus up to $16,000 to develop the game! Our game lab experts will team up with you and help your game become successful!

Find Teammates Submit Entry

2013 Competition is now over. 


We thank and congratulate all 24 teams that submitted competitive proposals.

Please follow us on Twitter (@TCGamesIncubate) for any announcements and updates. 

Thank you!


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Winners will receive:

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • Up to $16,000 in seed money for development and launch
  • Mentoring from Teachers College Game Lab, including access to lab resources, design and content assistance with learning theory and pedagogy
  • Assistance with game design, development, user testing, launch and distribution of the game


Round 1: Submit Your Game Proposal

  • The first stage of the Game Challenge is to submit a game proposal: to submit a game idea, how the game works, a description of your areas of expertise, and other helpful sketches or drawings that help us understand the game.
  • All are welcome to submit a game proposal, although it may be helpful to form a team of programmer(s), designers, and/or content experts. Click here if you wish to find teammates or propose ideas.  We will also help assemble teams based upon areas of interest and skills.
  • Submit a proposal through our website.
    • Proposals must include:
      • Team information (member names, contact information, area of expertise)
      • Examples of prior work
      • Title of project
      • Description of product (500-1000 words)
      • A demo, prototype, or concept sketches (a working product is not required, although recommended)
      • Up to six finalists will be chosen to participate in Round 2.
      • Submit by Sunday, April 7th, 2013 11:59PM EST.
  • NOTE: Teachers College faculty, staff and administration are not eligible to receive seed money awards.  Faculty may serve as mentors or advisers for a project.

Round 2: Present Your Game Proposal

  • Finalists who qualify for the second round will present their game concept and receive feedback from our panel of judges. This panel consists of experts in language learning, game design, and user experience design.
  • A 10 minute pitch presentation in front of a panel of judges. At least one team member must be available to present on April 19 (time/location TBD)

  • Bring a flash drive pre-loaded with a Powerpoint/Keynote/Prezi presentation.
    • In this presentation, please include:
      • Team information
      • Mission statement
      • Problem / Solution
      • Product description (mockups, demo, screenshots, etc.)
      • Financial Metrics (e.g. budget, timeline for development)
      • Winner(s) will be announced on April 22, 2013

We are especially interested in original, creative games that we haven’t seen before — not a duplicate of something that already exists.  We strongly encourage creativity, originality, and innovation.

We prefer:

  • games that will work for students in China, Brazil, and other countries
  • games that are supported by valid research findings and learning theories
  • games on mobile platforms (iOS, Android)
  • games that are differentiated from products in the current market (i.e., not just a flash card game)
  • games that use language in authentic contexts (everyday life, daily problems, etc.)
  • games that can be adapted to various levels of language learning
  • games that are social in nature (e.g., multiplayer games, social media games, cooperative)
  • games that may involve multiple skills (spoken language, written language, pronunciation, words in context, etc.)

We will work together with you to ensure that your game is backed by solid research on language learning.


  • Round 1 (Proposal) Deadline – Sunday, April 7th, 2013 11:59PM EST.
  • Notifications by April 12, 2013
  • Presentations on April 19, 2013
  • Winners announced April 22, 2013


Click here to submit your entry through our online form.