National STEM Video Game Challenge Announces Winners of Fifth Annual Competition

The National STEM Video Game Challenge announced today the winners of the 2016 competition. The 24 middle school and high school winners will be recognized at an award ceremony at National Geographic in Washington, DC, with top original video games and game design concepts selected in 18 categories from nearly 3,000 entries. 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 aims to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among youth by transforming their natural passions for playing video games into designing and creating their own video games.

This year National Geographic honors game designs that feature the spirit of exploration. Winners in four Nat Geo Explore prize categories will have their games or design documents featured on the National Geographic Education website, which reaches more than 1 million visitors a month.

The STEM Challenge conducted nearly 60 game design workshops and events across the country in 2016. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has sponsored more than 20 workshops at libraries and museums nationwide for students and mentors. One of this year’s winners was inspired to begin her game design document at a workshop hosted by the Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa, Florida. The Grable Foundation provided generous regional support in Pittsburgh, where the STEM Challenge facilitated 19 workshops and events that yielded four winners.

Each winner receives a cash prize of $1,000, as well as a subscription to Gamestar Mechanic from E-Line Media and Curiosity Boxes from Vsauce. STEM Challenge winners can also designate $2,000 to a school or non-profit organization as an institutional award recipient.

“The National STEM Video Game Challenge promotes vital new skills like coding and systems design that all young people will need to compete and collaborate in a digital and global world,” said Michael H. Levine, Executive Director, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center. “We are thrilled to honor these students and their outstanding games.”

For a complete list of winners, please see our 2016 Winner Gallery.