Winners of 2015 Gospel App and Game Contest Announced
Contributed By Sharon Leslie Howell, LDSTech.org
- The contest called for developers to “create something worthy.”
- Apps are not owned by, sponsored by, or affiliated with the Church.
The winners of the LDS Gospel App and Game Contest were announced Thursday, October 15, at the opening of the 2015 LDSTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gary Miner, contest manager, recognized the efforts of all the contest participants, saying, “Judging was hard because so many creative ideas were put forth that were very well executed by experienced developers.”
The apps may be downloaded from the various app stores and accessed on public websites through an online contest gallery. Many submitted apps have amazing graphics, engaging interactions, and easy-to-follow on-screen instructions. Others are more specialized, with a clear gospel impact for the lives of potential users.
The theme from the contest was “create something worthy.” Categories included Primary, Youth, and Family. There were also special awards for First-Time Developer, Under-18 Developer, Over-65 Developer, and the People’s Choice Award.
Visitors to the online gallery are encouraged to see the disclaimers associated with the apps, which are not owned by, sponsored by, or affiliated with the Church. According to the gallery website, “The Church makes no warranties of any kind with respect to these apps. As with any publicly available app, they may contain malware or other risks. Use at your own risk.”
Primary category winners
First place honors went to Super Elder, by Guy, Tom, Archer, and Will Wann. In this game, the hero collects CTR coins, encounters obstacles, and learns from role models, all while envisioning ways to put the Lord first.
Second place went to Book of Mormon Paper Doll, by Philip and Ann Quebe, Jessie Kate Patterson, and Drea Hatch. This game brings scripture heroes to life.
Third place went to Little Family Tree, by John Finlay. This family history app brings personal interaction through photos, games, and activities.
Honorable mention went to GrandMem.com, by Cameron and Micah Morris. This memory game uses photos from your family tree.
Youth category winners
First place was awarded to Sweep the Earth, by Tiafau Purcell and Colton Malone. This app helps members to become digital missionaries by bringing LDS photo quotes into one place.
Second place went to LDS Hive, by Austin Wright, Michael Garner, Dillon Winspear, Josh Bryson, Jordan Seegmiller, Brandon Anderson, and Nate Bryson. This is a first-of-its-kind social community app for LDS members.
Third place went to Scripture Hero: Nephite Prophet Wall-Crossing Escape, by Dustin Hill. This app provides a get-to-know-the-scriptures experience.
Honorable mention went to Gospel Game Kit, by Aaron Matenga and Tristan Dennis. The app is a bundle of activities such as catch phrase, charades, and password focused on a variety of gospel topics.
Family (Other) category winners
First place was awarded to Spiritual Pathways, by Hilary Beydler. This is a journaling app for Church notes, ideas, temple attendance, and more.
Second place went to Scout Champ, by Jonathan Lund. This is an iOS Scouting progress tracking system that can be used to replace the traditional paper system.
Third place went to LDS Daily Verse, by Hilton Campbell. This app uses an inspiring scripture, quote, sacred hymn, or motivating video to empower users each day.
Two honorable mentions were awarded. Prophetic Passages, by Frank Bishop and Jon Faulkenberry, is a reference app containing a collection of famous quotes from modern-day prophets. Missionary Display (LDS), by Kevin, Sean, Lindsey, Loni, David, and Allan Wade; Veronica Bendersky; Laura Leibson; and Catherine Hughes, is an organizational tool that creates vibrant, interactive ways to share pictures, stories, and experiences of missionaries.
Additional recognition was give for for three stand-out participants:
• First-Time Developer: Hilary Beydler, for Spiritual Pathways
• Under 18 developer, Carson Bush, for Article of Faith Quizzer
• Over-65 developer: Roberto Rojas, for Mission at a Time, a teaching game for the Word of Wisdom
People’s Choice Award
First place was presented to LDS Daily Verse, by Hilton Campbell.
Second place went to Missionary Display, by Kevin Wade.
Third place went to the Family History Guide, by Bob Taylor.
Voting for the People’s Choice Award was open to anyone through an online balloting system, and 1,061 unique voters weighed in and selected the best of the best overall. “Virtual” judging was a first for the LDS Gospel App and Game Contest, opening the selection process to the widest possible audience.
Some interesting statistics emerged regarding the 2015 contest that demonstrate the reach of good, wholesome, worthy apps:
69 apps were submitted
7 countries were represented and 18 states within the United States
5 developers were under the age of 18
3 developers were over the age of 65
25 Android apps
15 iOS apps
5 Windows apps
22 web apps
Before judging began, entry forms, rules, and the apps themselves were submitted for review by the Church's Correlation Department and legal counsel to ensure compliance with digital rights laws.
“We worked hard to make the [judging] process as fair and impartial as possible by using a standardized form and grading scale,“ said Brother Miner. “We included a good cross section of the types of people who would be downloading and using the apps.” This included more than 150 judges with software development experience, a number of family home evening groups with children of all ages, and young men and young women focus groups.
There were so many exceptional apps that when scores were tallied and compared, some were within 0.01-0.02 points of other apps. Provision was also made for languages in this year’s judging, and contest organizers welcomed dedicated LDS apps for Spanish-speaking audiences.
Speaking of the caliber of apps submitted for this year’s contest, Anna Butler, one of the contest organizers, said, “They are all so good you’ll want to see what’s out there and pick from all the apps and not just the winners.” She added, “It is unfortunate not all could be winners!” In a way, they can be when you discover your favorites.