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Jennifer Ann's Group

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About our Annual Game Design Challenge

Since 2008 our nonprofit organization has run an annual game design challenge. Our focus is on prosocial games designed to help young people (ages 11-22) about important issues. Over the years we have produced over 60 games through our Gaming Against Violence program. The one rule that we follow every year is: no violence is allowed in the games.

Over the years the topics for our contests have included: bystander awareness, consent, culture, gaslighting, healthy relationships, power & control, and teen dating violence prevention. The topic for the 15th Annual Life. Love. Game Design Challenge is resilience: "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change" (Merriam-Webster). To learn more about resilience you can visit the contest website which offers more resilience definitions and links to many resilience resources:

All of the games that we have on come from our Gaming Against Violence program. Check it out if you'd like to play some of the published games:

Several of these games have gone on to receive other awards and recognition. Most recently, the game 'Culture Overlord' was recognized as a 2022 Games for Change Awards finalist for "Best Learning Game" and will be featured at the Games for Change Festival in NYC July 13-16.

Currently all games are free.

About the Resilience Game Design Challenge

Theme: resilience
Prize money: $5,000 (USD)
Entry deadline: July 5, 2022
Eligibility: ages 13 and up

The Resilience Game Challenge consists of two rounds. For Round One, contestants will submit a game pitch. For Round Two, Finalists will be selected from those game pitches and those Finalists will then create a video game based on their game pitch.

Each Finalist who submits an eligible game is guaranteed a prize of at least $100 (USD). Each Winning Game is guaranteed a prize of at least $1,000 (USD).

Visit the website for resilience resources, full game rules, FAQs, and to submit your game pitch. The deadline is July 5, 2022. Good luck!

We're sorry to hear that happened to you but really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with us. We agree that this is behavior that is not acceptable -- and is too often treated in our culture as "okay" or worse.

Like you, were this to happen to us in high school we would likely have dismissed it as not being an "assault." We would think that because that is how we've been raised to think of these issues: our movies, books, and songs have given us those messages for years - and we were never taught otherwise ... so how would we know differently?

Our hope is that young people who play this game will see issues like this in a new light and, as a result, be less likely to be engage in this behavior. We want very much to change the "norms" around what is considered acceptable behavior when it comes to non-consensual activities.

We know that Stuck in a Dark Place has some very dark moments but believe it is an opportunity to shine light on issues that aren't discussed as often as they should be. We have tried very hard to find the right tone here in order to inform players without traumatizing them; we hope that you found the game's use of these trauma-based scenes to be appropriate. This is an ongoing issue for us and we are constantly considering how we might need to make some changes to this game. 

We hope that Stuck in a Dark Place is effective at finding the right balance between informing players while not traumatizing them -- and that at least in some small way is helping to change some of the unhealthy social norms we've grown up with in our culture.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughts.

We'd love to see more conversations about this game also!

We know that the game covers many difficult topics and that might discourage much conversation. We are happy to hear any thoughts you, or anybody else, has about the game.

Thank you for taking the time to write something and to share your thoughts. We appreciate that.

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Thank you Eunoia. We agree that ATC (A Thousand Cuts) is a compelling and important game to experience.

Our hope is that by engaging people - especially at a young age - about these issues that it will help to change their mindset. If young people grow up with unhealthy beliefs and attitudes it is more likely that they will behave in, or be willing to accept, unhealthy behaviors. When they get older, their children are more likely to grow up learning the same unhealthy lessons -- and the cycle of abuse will continue.

ATC is one of three "culture" games we have published to-date; we have several more that are not ready to publish yet. These culture games all examine the role and impact of culture on young people.

We are creating a Patreon account to allow people to help fund our work so that we can continue working on these games. Culture Overlord, Sea of Roses, and ATC will all be updated when we have the resources to do so. We will also be able to publish the other culture games when we have the funding.

We will be sure and share your kind words with Elizabeth Ballou, the developer and writer of ATC.

Thank you again for taking the time to write about our games. These messages help us know what players want. They also encourage us to keep working!

Thank you for your review and kind words!

We believe that some abusers don't know that what they are doing is wrong, especially if they are young and do not have much experience with dating. Young people often learn about relationships by witnessing their parents' relationship or the relationships of their older siblings. If those relationships are unhealthy then those young people might believe that abusive behavior is normal or acceptable. Of course, just because an abuser does not realize that they are being abusive that does not make it acceptable. But it does help us to have a better understanding about how to prevent future abuse.

We have never had any of our games translated into Armenian but we will add that to our list of possible projects. Thank you for letting us know about your interest in an Armenian version of HONEYMOON.

And thank you again for taking the time to write a review and share your thoughts and ideas. We are so glad to know that HONEYMOON has been helpful to you.

Thank you for taking the time to write a review.

We should point out that Dan's over-the-top reaction to media items in the game is deliberate.

This is a central conceit of the game.

The goal here is not to convince players that watching a movie about being a gentleman leads to one's wearing a monocle. Instead, we are trying to encourage discussions about real-world impacts which are much more subtle. But, since they are subtle, we would have to include thousands of such interactions to show their impact.

Here we are not using the conventional "how will Dan respond?" approach as used in the choose-your-own-adventure books. Instead, the player decides how Dan responds by selecting the media items to which Dan is exposed. The central conceit used here is intended to comically direct the narrative, while allowing the player to experience one of many versions of Dan's story in 20 minutes or so.

We are looking at making some changes to the game, including making it more clear that unique approach requires a suspension of disbelief. Your review will help inform how we will accomplish that. Thanks again.

DV Crossword will be back next October in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). See you then.

Feel free to ask for hints, etc. Before we release this again next October we will add some hints or figure out how to make the puzzles a bit more manageable.

We hadn't played it since 2019 and didn't realize how difficult many of these clues are!

If there are any other thoughts on the UX or other changes please share your thoughts here about that as well ... thanks!

Hi -- we can't figure out how to respond to your review of the crossword puzzle but wanted to reach out to you!

You're the only person who has responded to DV Crossword so first of all: thank you for that. If you'd like we can send you all of the answers if you'd like to use the puzzles in your classroom.

Generally, the "easiest" should be the 10x10 then the 14x14 and then 15x15 puzzles. But since we've not had any feedback it's been very difficult to know how hard the puzzles are. Let us know if you'd like the answers and we'll figure out how to make them available for your use. 

(here are a few clues for the 10x10 puzzle)
12across = permission
25across = resilience
3down = unreversed
5down = saintdenis

- Jennifer Ann's Group

P.S. It has been a while since we created this and it was NOT EASY to try and recall some of these answers. This is harder than we remembered it being! We will probably revamp this game so that at least some hints are available before we share it again next October.  :-)

Thank you for playing and for leaving a comment. We're glad you enjoyed Grace's Diary and hope it will help more young people learn about the dangers of dating abuse!

Thank you for playing Grace's Diary & sharing your thoughts. We agree dating violence is sad and hope that Grace's Diary will continue to help people learn more about it!

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Thank you! We should have the full game on here soon -- maybe this weekend. (Update: April 13, 2022: Probably should have said soon-ish. We are still working to get the full game to run in a browser.)

Hi Natalie -- we hope your friends are as great as Grace!

Let us know what OS you have and we will try to build a downloadable version that will run locally on your system. Right now the only downloadable is for Windows but we'll gladly add them for another OS if there is enough interest (and we can figure out how to do it!).

Thanks for reaching out & for your kind words!

Yea! Thank you so much for the update -- we're really happy to hear that you're able to explore the world of Lamplight Hollow!

Hmm... well at least we've confirmed that it's doing this consistently for you!

If you wouldn't mind could you try accessing this game on GameJolt? Although at this point it seems likely you'll have the same problem it would help if we could confirm this. We're sorry for the difficulty but this is not a problem we've ever seen and it might take a little time to figure out. Here's Lamplight Hollow's game page on GameJolt:

If you can let us know how this goes either here or on our GameJolt page we would appreciate it!

As you can see below, Wilbur is confused too:

Also, the font is Thinking.woff2 but it's not clear if that would matter. If this is another language we haven't been able to identify it. Let us know if you have any luck!

Wow. We haven't seen that before! We just checked and the below image is how it is appearing for us.

Could you click on HOW TO PLAY (aka HNV SN OAX) to see if you still get this "language" once you've proceeded and then let us know?

It's probably a character set or font issue but it would help narrow it down if you could try the above. 


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your comments with us! We're very glad that you liked HONEYMOON and its message.

This year's winning games have been announced:

  • $10,000 First Place Winner: 'Culture Overlord' from Lucas Vially, France
  • $2,000 Second Place Winner: 'Sea of Roses' from Midnight Moon of Tea, Portugal
  • $500 Third Place Winner: 'A Thousand Cuts' from Elizabeth Ballou, USA

More details including links to game trailers in the press release!

Winners Announced: Video Games Exploring Culture’s Influence on Dating (October 15, 2020 Press Release)

We agree -- thank you for your comment & kind words!

Thanks for the Let's Play of Lamplight Hollow! Now that Wilbur & Dreamer have made it Outdoors we'd love to see what happens next . . . !

We're so glad to hear that - we hope you enjoy exploring Lamplight Hollow!!!

Take care.

Hi - we're sorry to hear that. The HTML5 save files should be stored in local storage and retrieved automatically. The Key for the default save file is:

RPG Lamplight Hollow File9

Maybe check if a different browser was used? Good luck!

Well, we can definitely say that the title screen is not supposed to look like that!

Lamplight Hollow is also on our GameJolt page -- give it a try there and let us know how it goes.

No -- what's not working?

The only problem we saw early in testing was issues with audio files when using Chrome but that was resolved. Please let us know what we can do to help.

Thank you so much for playing and sharing Grace's Diary!

One of the great things about these video games is that they are a safe way of experiencing an otherwise dangerous situation. Please do not feel guilty about what happened in the game! As you suggested might be the case, you experienced just one of the possible endings in the game - there are a total of three endings (one of which is considered the 'good' ending).

Now that you've experienced one of the 'bad' endings you have more information about what does - and sometimes doesn't - work when talking to a peer about dating abuse. (Having more examples of instances where Grace witnessed unhealthy behavior would have helped Grace keep Natalie on the phone.) This game experience was obviously meaningful to you - and having impactful experiences by playing games like this makes it less likely that those people will ignore a situation like this if they see it IRL.

We strongly believe that video games are the best way to explore, share, and discuss these difficult and sensitive topics.

Thank you again for your kind comments and interest in this game
. Feel free to check out our other games as well --- all of them are free, several are available for iOS/Android --- and although all are related to the mission of our charity (prevention of teen dating violence) they include different themes like consent and gaslighting. Since 2008 we've produced more than 50 short, but impactful, games!

HINT: if you decide to play again remember that some items should be looked at more than once ;-)

For the 13th Annual Life. Love. Game Design Challenge we selected 13 Finalists!

We were blown away by the clever & thoughtful game pitches submitted. The Finalists now have from now until July 1st to develop the games based on their game pitches. We can't wait to see what they create!
❤️Thank you everybody who participated & Congrats to the Finalists!

#indiedev #gamedev

Thank you for playing Grace's Diary -- and for sharing your very kind words!

TODAY is the registration deadline for the 2020 game design challenge presented by Jennifer Ann's Group.

SUBMIT YOUR PITCH today to be eligible!

First place: $10,000

Rule & Registration:


Jennifer Ann's Group is proud to announce its 13th annual video game design challenge.

Since 2008 Jennifer Ann's Group has challenged video game designers to create prosocial video games in an effort to prevent violence, especially in adolescent dating relationships.

Through this annual game design competition, video game designers and developers around the world compete to win cash prizes and have their games featured by Jennifer Ann's Group, a nonprofit charity producing, publishing, and researching prosocial video games to stop teen dating violence in memory of Jennifer Ann Crecente.

The theme for the 2020 challenge is culture.

Can you create a video game about culture's influence on dating . . . without using any violence in the game?

Thank you for the kind words.

ALL of the music used in the game has been properly licensed and we have sent in that info to several music publishers already to get 3 or 4 claims dropped. Not all of the publishers have automated systems and some are just not responsive.

We're sorry that this is a hassle but it doesn't seem like we'll find a reasonable solution anytime soon. :-(

But thank you again!! And we will check out your video soon.

2020 Life. Love. Game Design Challenge: CULTURE

Jennifer Ann's Group is proud to announce its 13th annual video game design challenge!
Since 2008 Jennifer Ann's Group has challenged video game designers to create prosocial (and violence-free) video games in an effort to prevent violence, especially in adolescent dating relationships.
Through this annual game design competition, video game designers and developers around the world compete to win cash prizes and have their games featured by Jennifer Ann's Group, a nonprofit charity producing, publishing, and researching prosocial video games to stop teen dating violence in memory of Jennifer Ann Crecente.
The theme for the 2020 challenge is culture:
Can you create a video game about culture's influence on dating . . . without using any violence in the game?


First Place: $10,000

Second Place: $2,000

Third Place: $500

Door Prize: $100


We believe video games are the most effective tool for exploring complex issues. The winning games from this year's game design challenge should help those who play it better understand the role and impact that one's culture has in shaping beliefs and attitudes about dating and healthy relationships.
The Culture Game Challenge will consist of two rounds. Round One will consist of submitting a proposed game narrative.
Round Two will be limited to 10 Finalists selected from the Round One narrative submissions.
You do not need to be a game developer or game designer in order to become a Finalist - you just need to have a clever idea that you believe would translate well into a compelling video game about culture's influence on dating and relationships!
►Round One submissions due: March 20, 2020


For details, rules, and more visit:
For previous winning games visit our channel:

Thank you for playing & for sharing your thoughts.

We agree that relationships can be tricky and hope that HONEYMOON was helpful for you.

Please let us know if you have any questions!


HONEYMOON is an award-winning game developed by Sandra Lara Castillo and produced by Jennifer Ann’s Group, a nonprofit charity that produces video games about issues that affect adolescents. It is part of Jennifer Ann's Group’s ‘Gaming Against Violence’ program which focuses on teen dating violence prevention and to that end, HONEYMOON acts as a healthy dating simulator for young people to:
  1. teach them about healthy dating relationships
  2. better recognize unhealthy behaviors in dating relationships, and
  3. learn how to respond appropriately in order to achieve the most positive outcome.
In HONEYMOON, players explore a dating relationship through the experiences of a student, Charlie, who is beginning their very first romantic relationship with Mickey, a non-player character (NPC). The player selects dialogue choices for Charlie to advance the storyline as it follows Charlie and Mickey through the fun and exciting “honeymoon” phase of their relationship. As the game progresses and the “honeymoon” period ends, the player experiences some of the potential challenges found in adolescent dating relationships and also sees how the evolving relationship impacts Charlie’s family and friends.
There are multiple endings to experience and players are encouraged to re-play HONEYMOON to see how different decisions lead to these different outcomes!
HONEYMOON is FREE: online, or on the App Store, or Amazon App Store, or Google Play

Development                 Sandra Lara Castillo
Produced by
Jennifer Ann's Group
ESRB Rating
E for Everyone

About Jennifer Ann's Group

Since 2008 Jennifer Ann's Group's Gaming Against Violence program has produced more than fifty serious video games about serious issues. Previous video game topics include bystander awareness, consent, healthy relationships, and teen dating violence prevention. This award-winning approach to violence prevention is evidence-based and the games are available for use in university studies. Please contact Jennifer Ann's Group to discuss research opportunities.
Jennifer Ann's Group is named for Jennifer Ann Crecente, a high school senior killed by her ex-boyfriend. The nonprofit charity was created by her dad in her memory.

More information about Jennifer Ann's Group is available at


Hi CytomPlaz -- thanks for the kind words about the game!

We have not filed any copyright claims (and we actually want people to share our games). 

All third-party music in the game has been properly licensed to use in Lamplight Hollow. If you receive a claim stating otherwise please direct those claimants to contact us directly at:

We will send them proof of license. 

Enjoy the game :-)

Although we're glad that you can continue to play it is definitely not supposed to be happening!

Have you noticed any pattern about when this happens? (scene or music change for example) Would you mind telling us what browser you're using? We can start there try and replicate this.

Thank you for letting us know.

Thank you for your kind words and detailed feedback! We are evaluating what we will be doing with Lamplight Hollow next and will keep your feedback in mind to help guide us.

The problem with the 'Z' key not working is concerning and we have not been able to replicate it yet. As we look at porting the game to mobile devices we will likely add an on-screen button to replace use of the 'Z' key but it would be best if we could identify why this is not working properly for all players.

Thank you again for your thoughtful comments and for your time in sharing them with us!


Lamplight Hollow, a quirky RPG that explores our dreams and their messages.

You will be joined by a motley group of characters who might or might not be helpful; will find treasures that might or might not be treasured; and might even recall those memories that were seemingly too-easy-to-forget.

Lamplight Hollow is a free game developed by Luciano Sgarbi & produced by Jennifer Ann's Group. E for Everyone (ESRB)

Even includes the dreaded tutorial dungeon!

Who's a good boy?


Lamplight Hollow is completely free. Donations are greatly appreciated.

Check it out now -- we hope you like it!

Lamplight Hollow

The Winning Games from the 2018 Life.Love. Game Design Challenge: BYSTANDERS.

Student Category

Street Sweeper
Sophi Schneider of Upper Dublin Township High School

University Category

Julie Rousseau, Joe Natale, and Susalin Chean of University of Rhode Island, College of Nursing

Community Category

Step Up
JC Games

Citizen Witch
Lucas Vially

A press release and links to the updated games will be available in July. Please stay tuned.

Hi - thanks for your interest.

This is the first time we've had third-party beneficiaries for the contest prizes and it is taking longer than usual to finalize everything. We did hear from one more prize recipient this morning and now are just waiting for one final respondent in order to announce the winners.

We hope to be able to announce the final list of all winners later this week.

Thank you for your interest in the contest. Emails are in the process of going out to all participants who provided their email address on the entry form!