Thursday, October 15, the winners of the LDS Gospel App & Game Contest were announced at the opening of the 2015 LDSTech Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gary Miner, Contest Manager from the office of the CIO of the Church, recognized the efforts of all the contest participants in 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. You will find many 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.
Primary Category winners:
- First Place honors went to “Super Elder” (a game where the hero collects CTR coins, encounters obstacles, and learns from role models while envisioning ways to put the Lord first) by Guy, Tom, Archer, and Will Wann
- Second Place went to “Book of Mormon Paper Doll” (a game that brings scripture heroes to life) by Philip and Ann Quebe, Jessie Kate Patterson, and Drea Hatch.
- Third place went to “Little Family Tree” (a family history app that brings personal interaction through photos, games and activities) by John Finlay
- Honorable Mention went to GrandMem.com (a memory game with pictures from your family tree) by Cameron and Micah Morris
Youth Category winners
- First place was awarded to “Sweep the Earth” (a help for members to become digital missionaries by bringing LDS photo quotes into one place) by Tiafau Purcell and Colton Malone.
- Second place went to “LDS Hive” (a first of its kind social community app for LDS members) by Austin Wright, Michael Garner, Dillon Winspear, Josh Bryson, Jordan Seegmiller, Brandon Anderson, and Nate Bryson.
- Third place went to “Scripture Hero: Nephite Prophet Wall-crossing Escape” (a get to know the scriptures experience) by Dustin Hill.
- Honorable Mention went to “Gospel Game Kit” (a bundle of activities that includes catch phrase, charades, and password with a variety of gospel topics) by Aaron Matenga and Tristan Dennis.
Family (Other) Category winners
- First place was awarded to “Spiritual Pathways” (a journaling app for Church notes, ideas, temple attendance, and more) by Hilary Beydler.
- Second place went to “Scout Champ” ( an iOS scout progress tracking system to replace the traditional paper system) by Jonathan Lund
- Third place went to “LDS Daily Verse” ( an inspiring scripture, quote, sacred hymn, or motivating video app to empower users each day) by Hilton Campbell
- Two honorable mentions were awarded. One went to “Prophetic Passages (a reference app containing a collection of famous quotes from modern day prophets) by Frank Bishop and Jon Faulkenberry and the other honorable mention went to “Missionary Display (LDS)” (an organizational tool that creates vibrant, interactive ways to share pictures, stories and experiences of missionaries) by Kevin, Sean, Lindsey, Loni, David, and Allan Wade, Veronica Bendersky, Laura Leibson, and Catherine Hughes.
Additional recognition for three stand-out participants
- First Time developer, Hilary Beydler, for Spiritual Pathways.
- Under 18 developer, Carson Bush, for Article of Faith Quizzer.
- Over age 65 developer, Roberto Rojas, for “Mission at a Time” (a teaching game for the “Word of Wisdom.”)
The People’s Choice Award
- First place People’s Choice Award was presented to Hilton Campbell for “LDS Daily Verse,” by Hilton Campbell.
- Second place went to “Missionary Display” by Kevin Wade.
- Third place went to developer Bob Taylor for “The Family History Guide.”
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 app and game contest, opening the selection process to the widest possible audience.
Some interesting statistics emerged regarding the 2015 contest that demonstrates the reach of good, wholesome, worthy apps:
- 69 apps submitted
- 7 countries represented
- 18 states within the United States
- 5 developers under the age of 18
- 3 developers 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 Church correlation and legal counsel to ensure compliance with digital rights laws, and though frustrating to some developers, opportunity was extended to obtain all necessary permissions to qualify for the contest.
Describing the judging process, Gary Miner shared, “We worked hard to make the process as fair and impartial as possible by using a standardized form and grading scale. 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.