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It’s All Here! 11 of the Best Student and Indie Game Competitions

Finding where to apply for student or indie game competitions contests and festivals is an ever changing and evolving task. Every year events are created, updated, delayed, or cancelled. Keeping a finger on the pulse of indie competitions is not easy.

Until now.

This is the 11 best student and indie game competitions of 2020 to date. This will provide anyone quick access to have a good starting point to applying for indie game competitions.

Especially for my students at the University of Utah.

If you are an event organizer or have information about an event not shown here on this list please contact me via DM on Twitter.

This list will be updated regularly.

List of Student and Indie Game Competitions

1: Independent Games Festival

The Independent Game Festival (IGF) was established in 1998 and is arguable the biggest student and indie game competition happening today. The festival itself is shown each year at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and awards are announced at the event.

2: Chi Play – Student Game Design Competition

Chi Play – student game design competition Submitted student games are chosen by a jury panel then winners are chosen by a panel of experts. The winners are presented each year at the Chi Play Conference. Chi Play 2020 is happening Nov 2-4 virtually. Student Submission deadline July 15th 2020.

3: GDWC – Game Dev World Championships

GDWC 2020(Game Dev World Championships) is an annual online event and competition open Students and Indie Game Developers. Final date for submission this year is Dec 13th 2020. Details and rules can be found on the link above.

4: SXSW Gaming Awards

SXSW Gaming Awards held at the annual SXSW Conference; While originally created as a way to showcase Indie Game Development. It appears that the changes for 2021 have opened the awards up to all games. That being said, the “Indie Game of the Year” award is specific to indie games. Open for entry October – December each year. Awards will be announced during SXSW Online: A Digital Experience from March 16–20, 2021.

5: Indie Mega Booth

Indie Mega Booth is a cool one. It is a curated traveling showcase; meaning it shows up to multiple conferences through out the year to celebrate indie game developers and their games. This year they showed up at GDC2020, Pax East 2020 and Pax West 2020. Be sure to click on their list and subscribe to their mailing list to receive the latest locations and submission deadlines.

6: IndieCade

IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games. This year as it is only they are calling it IndieCade Anywhere and Everywhere and it will be a 9 day event celebrating all things Indie Games taking place Oct 16th – 24th 2020. Over the years IndieCade has grown to be one of the premiere events for submitting indie and student games of all varieties and levels of completion.

7: Serious Game Showcase and Challenge

The Serious Games Showcase and Challenge has been one of the premiere competitions for students and indie developers of serious games for well over 15 years now. Held at the I/ITSEC Conference the challenge has been canceled this year due to the event not being held in person. Be sure to bookmark the link so you can keep up on future events.

8: Alt.Ctrl.GDC

Alt.Ctrl.GDC welcomes submissions for indie and student games with unique one of a kind peripherals, contraptions and novelties. This showcase and competition is held on the ground floor pavilion During the years that GDC is held in person. Since these types of games require a hands on demonstration, how the show will go on for 2021 is any ones guess.

9: BIG Festival

The BIG Festival is the largest festival and market for independent games in Latin America. But don’t let that keep you from checking them out, they also accept game submission from international developers! The next Festival is happening in May 5-9th 2021 and you can submit your game up until February 8th.

10: Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival Indie Games Competition

The FEFFS Indie Games Competition is held in Strasbourg France and is open to international submissions. This years competition was held September 11-20th 2020.

11: MOMOCON Indie Games Showcase

The MOMOCON Indie Games Showcase takes place each year in Atlanta Georgia. The next conference will take place in May 27-30th 2021. Indie game submissions are said to be open for application in january.

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