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Five Teenagers Who Are Changing The Face Of The Mobile Game Industry

These five mega-talented contest winners are leveling up thanks to Google Play's Change The Game initiative.

This summer, Google Play held a mobile game design contest open to US teens ages 13–18, in partnership with Girls Make Games. Our own Kelsey Impicciche served as one of the judges!

The aim of the contest was to encourage more diversity in mobile game development.


As you can see, there is a huge gap between the number of female teen gamers and the number of adult women working in the gaming industry.

But, Google Play’s Change the Game program seeks to help change that. Let's meet the contest winners!

1. Anna, 18, New York

Megan Thompson / BuzzFeed

In her own words: "In the current social climate — with news headlines often defined by sexism, homophobia, and racial bigotry — I hope to see a future that puts today’s dreams of a society of kindness and inclusion into reality. In the video and mobile gaming industry, I hope to see more diverse creators involved so that the storylines of tomorrow are not rewritten to be representative of only a select few but are instead revised to reflect the real communities we live in. With a climate of inclusion, the stereotypes that gamers are only men can be destroyed to empower women as both gamers and creators."

Here's a sneak peek at her game, Brightlove.

Original game submission.

About the game: Brightlove is a coming-of-age narrative that encourages players to be kind and to take action, rather than being mere bystanders. The game is a quest to collect gold letters to complete each level. Then you rearrange the letters into positive words. During the game, players dodge evil monsters and encounter hurt creatures — and if they help those creatures, they get extra lives!

2. Bridgette, 16, Washington

Megan Thompson / BuzzFeed

In her own words: "This competition really opened my eyes to the potential of being able to enter the gaming industry as a creative concept artist and designer. This entire experience made me realize the instrumental role that concept artists and designers have on the outcomes of the games they are a part of, influencing the mood, designs, mechanics, and story. Although this challenge was difficult at times, with its volume of needed material for a truly comprehensive design, it was fulfilling and exciting to put my creativity towards a large project. It made me realize that I could potentially do this in the future, lending my creative direction to help make various game projects a reality and creating a truly immersive environment and story for players to engage with."

Here's more about her game, Lune.

Original game submission.

About the game: Lune is a blended game that takes inspiration from visual novels and RPG games. The game takes place in a distant future, where humanity has achieved deep space travel and created sentient AI. The player controls Turin and is prompted to make choices that will dictate her statistics, battle options, and ultimately decide her fate.

3. Grace, 15, Texas

Megan Thompson / BuzzFeed

In her own words: "My love of game design comes from a variety of interests. When I was in elementary school, my brain was overflowing with ideas for stories, which I wrote down with the intent of turning them into novels. I have always loved both building extensive creative projects and learning about scientific and logical concepts, and these interests led me to pursue art, music, psychology (one of my favorite sciences), and computer science. When I discovered the world of game design, I found that it combined art, storytelling, psychology, coding, and music all into one field. It’s the perfect place for me!"

She created Good Dogs Bring Joy.

Original game submission.

About the game: Good Dogs Bring Joy is a casual game that flips the virtual pet idea on its head. The user plays as a dog named Alex seeking to help their owner. To succeed, Alex needs to be a good dog, help around the house, and protect the pack.

4. Neha, 16, California

Megan Thompson / BuzzFeed

In her own words: "I am passionate about game-making because it gives me a creative outlet where I can take all of my interests — like art, animation, technology, and music — and combine them to create one common idea that can bring people together. Game-making also allows me to take my random thoughts and imagination and turn them into a reality, which I can share with others. Games are not always just about aimless fighting and violence; they teach problem-solving, strategy, teamwork, and communication, and as a game-maker I would like to remove the old and overused stigma."

She created the game YuMe

About the game: YuMe is a dream-like fantasy game about self-discovery. The game follows the main character, Yume, as she travels through the universe to find her home planet. Users will help Yume by solving puzzles and matching clues.

5. Krista, 18, New Hampshire

Megan Thompson / BuzzFeed

In her own words: "Going through the process of crafting an idea and concepts for a game reminded me just how many different jobs there are when it comes to making video games. Playing games made by small studios or just one person makes me forget that most video games are made by large teams of people, and you don’t have to excel at everything to work in the video game industry. I’m not so great at programming or making a soundtrack, but a job as a visual or story artist in the gaming industry would be really cool!"

Let's get to know her game, Spectrum.

Original game submission.

About the game: Spectrum is a 2D fantasy platformer in a modified Earth setting where "sprites," small pixie-like creatures, are taking over the bodies of other creatures. The challenge is to navigate the different worlds to complete various quests and ultimately save your sprite-invaded friends.

Can't wait to play? These games will be on the Google Play Store in November! If you're feeling inspired you can design your very own own mobile game here!

Meanwhile, click here to learn more about Change The Game and all the amazing work the initiative is doing to get more diversity in mobile gaming.