National STEM Video Game Challenge Launches Sixth Competition

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is now accepting student submissions of original, playable video games and game design documents. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, E-Line Media, and founding sponsor the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) aim 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. This year the STEM Challenge also welcomes a new partner, Games for Change (G4C), an organization that promotes games for social impact, and prize category around “games for good.”

The STEM Challenge is open to middle school and high school students in the U.S. in grades five through twelve. Students may enter as individuals or as teams of up to four members. Entries can be created using any game creation platform such as Gamestar Mechanic, Unity, GameMaker, and Scratch or as a written game design document. The deadline to submit entries is May 1, 2017. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000, as well as exposure on the STEM Challenge website, mentoring from game industry professionals, and access to an online community of peers.

“The process of leveling up from video game players to video game designers requires mastery of both creative and technical disciplines and helps build critical 21st century career skills like computational thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration,” said Mark German, President, E-Line Education. The 2017 STEM Challenge looks forward to partnering with leading education and out-of-school organizations who share a commitment to ensuring that STEM pathways are available to all.”

“Game design is a proven way to engage students in STEM learning and computer science,” says Susanna Pollack, President of G4C. “We believe that games are also a powerful tool to drive social change, reflect on history, and engage teens in civic issues. G4C has been a proud supporter of the STEM Challenge for many years, so this is a natural collaboration. We are excited to launch a new national opportunity through our partnership for students to create games about real-world issues that they are passionate about.”

In an effort to reach more students across the country, this year’s STEM Challenge will host more virtual learning opportunities, featuring professional game designers and industry professionals as facilitators. A full calendar of events along with submission rules, game development and design tools, and STEM resources for participants and mentors can be found on the STEM Challenge website. If you want to try new adventures, check here this Begginers guide to Rust game.

The STEM Challenge was inspired by President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate Campaign.” Nearly 5,000 middle and high school youth registered for the 2016 competition. Previous winners have showcased their games at the White House Science Fair.