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Health, Science & Tech

Video Game Design Competition Hopes to Drum Up STEM Interest

Kids in the Pittsburgh area have a chance to learn game design skills, and then compete nationally.

On Saturday National STEM Video Game Challenge is hosting a hands-on workshop with game industry professionals at The Ellis School to teach youth how to design video games.

“So we’re teaching a little bit about what happens in the industry, but also a strong emphasis on systems thinking and problem solving. So they’re doing more of a game design 101, but also a computer science 101. By the end of the workshop the kids will have in teams created a playable game,” said representative from National STEM Video Game Challenge, Barrie Adleberg.

During the workshop the kids learn how to design their own video game that they could enter into STEM’s national challenge. The competition is open-platform, and there is even a concept category which does not involve programing, but rather thoroughly planning the game through writing skills.   

“A lot of people see/associate gaming and game design with rigid computation, we’re trying to really break away at that stereotype and make this more acceptable as an experience. Hopefully they’ll leave and feel empowered,” said Adleberg.

This is the 4th year of the competition, and last year they received about 4,000 entries. There will be seven possible categories with 7 high school winners, and 7 middle school winners. Students could win $1,000 for themselves, and $2,000 for their school or nonprofit of their choosing. Winners in the past have been invited to the White House Science Fair.

The deadline to submit a game is March 30th.