National STEM Video Game Challenge Announces Winners of 2017 Competition

The National STEM Video Game Challenge today announced the winners of the 2017 competition. This year’s winners include 23 middle and high school students who submitted original video games and game design concepts in platforms including GameMaker, Gamestar Mechanic, Scratch, and Unity.

Presented by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media, with founding sponsor the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the STEM Challenge was launched in 2010 as part of the White House’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign. The challenge was designed to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among youth by harnessing their natural passion for playing video games and inspiring them to design games of their own. This year, Games for Change sponsored a special prize for games designed to help players learn, improve their communities, and contribute to making the world a better place. The winners of the 2017 STEM Challenge and the related 2017 National Games for Change Student Challenge were also recognized at the Games for Change Festival in New York City today.

Since the challenge was launched in 2011, students have designed and submitted nearly 20,000 original games and game design documents over six competition cycles. “Not only are this year’s student winners remarkably accomplished young people, they are among the most diverse yet, and the games that they’re making include characters who look like them and reflect the diversity of the people who enjoy playing games,” said Mark German, president, E-Line Education. “We’re thrilled that the games for the STEM Challenge’s final year have been among the strongest yet.”

Each winner receives a cash prize of $1,000, a lifetime premium consumer subscription to Gamestar Mechanic, and the opportunity for a consultation with a game industry professional for advice on developing his or her interest and skills in design, engineering, or game-making.

Middle School (5th-8th grade) winners

Gamestar Mechanic: Artificial – Kyle Roke (Foxboro, MA)

Open Platform: Twisted Petal – Saida Woolf (Tehachapi, CA)

Open Platform Team: Mainframe – Lucas Armand (Malvern, PA); Shrey Pandya (Exton, PA)

Scratch: The Digestive System –  Zoe Plunkett (Milwaukee, WI)

Unity: The Trappist Incident – Sam Raymond (Midlothian, VA)

Written Game Design: STEM Obstacle Course – Himani Chonkar (Waukesha, WI)

Games for Change: The Hunger Game – Ruth Elahi (Vineland, NJ); Hannah Tamagni (Vineland, NJ); Liakadja Whitesell (Vineland, NJ)


High School (9th-12th grade) winners

GameMaker: The Calculus Test – Connor Shugg ( Apex, NC)

Gamestar Mechanic: Extinction – Mason Felton (Ripon, WI)

Open Platform: Keeper – Jude Morey (Beech Grove, IN)

Open Platform Team: Intervene – Owen Cain (Washington, DC); Doanna Nguyen (Washington, DC);  Gabriel Stevanus (Washington, DC); Tochi Ukegbu (Washington, DC)

Open Platform Team: The Pyramid – John Korhel (Parker, CO); Alex Lawrence (Parker, CO); John Ripple (Parker, CO)

Unity: Green Hero – Geneva Heyward (Corona, NY)

Written Game Design Document: Ultra Fishing – James Nguyen (Portland, OR)

Games for Change: Cyber Champion – Pranav Patil (San Diego, CA)