For the first time, equal proportions of male and female winners have been revealed in the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge.
The results of the 2018 Australian STEM Video Game Challenge have been announced and winners of three of the six categories are teams made up entirely of girls – the highest proportion of female winners in the competition’s history.
Nearly 3000 students from around Australia, some as young as 10 years old, designed and built video games addressing the 2018 theme of ‘Transformation’. Entries touched on topics like climate change, the life cycle of animals, evolution and devolution, family, shapes and time travel, showing a huge range of creativity in interpretation of the theme.
The annual STEM Video Game Challenge is managed in Australia by the ACER Foundation, a charitable organisation underwritten by the Australian Council for Educational Research, and Foundation Director Lisa Norris said this year’s result met an important goal for the competition.
“Computer games are still largely regarded as male-dominated, so a key aim of the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is to attract girls to coding and other STEM related subjects,” said Ms Norris. “The high number of female winners in 2018 is heartening evidence of a growing trend for girls to get involved in the space.”
The challenge aims to engage students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines by inviting school students in Years 5 to 12 to create an original video game. Ms Norris said research shows that gaming and game design for learning are increasingly being embraced by schools.
“The Interactive Games and Entertainment Association’s Digital Australia 2018 survey found that 50 per cent of parents reported that their children have used games as part of their school curriculum, compared to 35 per cent in the 2016 survey,” Ms Norris said. “The students have created an original video game using a broad range of skills and technology, and used a real-world opportunity to develop vital skills for the future.
“The standard of the entries was very impressive, and they should be proud of their efforts.”
Screenshots from winning games (L-R): Unknown Dimensions by Team Gold 1; Purify Down Under by Team Stub; Shapes by Team Shapes.
Winning games will be available to play on the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge stand at PAX Aus, one of the largest video gaming conventions in the world, at the Melbourne Convention Centre from 26-28 October. An awards ceremony will take place at the convention at 12.30pm on Saturday 27 October in the Galah Theatre, as part of a panel event hosted by Junkee Editor Rae Johnston and featuring winners and a range of top gaming industry experts.