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National STEM Video Game Challenge Encourages Game Lovers to Create Their Own Games

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

If your middle or high school video game loving child dreams of creating the very games they enjoy playing, the National STEM Video Game Challenge kicks off their search for original video games created by teens this month. For the third year in a row, the competition’s goal is to increase interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects by tapping into a natural passion for video games. Playing video games allows kids to conceptualize new games in their heads while STEM topics are required in order to develop complex environments and scenarios for game play.

“Today far too many young Americans face an opportunity divide – a gap between those who have the education, skills or opportunities to achieve their dreams and those who do not. At the same time, our nation faces an increasing shortage of individuals with the skills necessary to fill the high-tech jobs of today and tomorrow, “said Fred Humphries, Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft.  “The National STEM Video Game Challenge is one way we can help expose youth to the interesting opportunities available in our industry.  These exciting projects show that developing technology skills can lead long-term to fun, innovative careers.”

Students who are interested in submitting original video games for the competition should visit the National STEM Video Game Challenge that features resources including game design tools and activities. There are competitions for individual games or those created collaboratively by a team of 4. Entries can be made with Gamestar Mechanic, Gamemaker, Kodu, Scratch, or Open Platform tools and awards are given at the middle and high school level for each entry stream.

While the process of creating a game is rewarding, each individual winner and member of a winning team will received an AMD-powered laptop computer with game design and educational software. Winning entries will also earn $2,000 for their school or nonprofit organization of their choice.

Last year more than 3,700 middle and high school youth participated in the 2012 Challenge sponsored by tech companies such as AMD Foundation, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and the Entertainment Software Association. This year’s Challenge will also unite a corps of outreach partners and mentors who will be instrumental in supporting youth and teacher participation including BrainPop, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting PBS KIDS Ready To Learn Initiative, Learning Games Network and Edmodo. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Hive NYC Learning Network are also involved to reach out to underserved youth across the country through hands-on game design workshops and other supplemental curriculum activities.

Image courtesy of the National STEM Video Game Challenge


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