Obama Congratulates Young Game Designers at the White House
10.18.10 | Winners of the Game Changers Kids Competition were announced today at the White House Science Fair. President Obama personally congratulated 13-year-old Jack Hanson of New Mexico, who won the competition for the new adventure he created for the popular science video game “Spore.”
“I wanted my level to be interesting and new each time someone plays it,” Hanson said. “I made it so that there are different problems, but there are lots of different ways to solve those problems.”
The competition invited anyone under age 18 to submit either a new level for the popular video game “LittleBigPlanet” or an inspired adventure for “Spore Galactic Adventures.” Seventeen winners were chosen in all, including Hanson’s 15-year-old sister, Haley, who received an award for her “LittleBigPlanet” entry.
Jack Hanson’s winning adventure, Live or Die, was chosen both for its “challenging, entertaining game play and the scientific principles required to create and play it,” according to this release. “Judges praised the way all the actions in the survivor adventure have consequences, and the way Hanson uses Artificial Intelligence and randomizing principles to make the game repayable, with new situations arising from each choice the gamer makes and a new game scenario developing each time one plays.”
Jack and Haley’s mother, Lori, who accompanied her kids to the White House for the announcement, said the competition offered a great opportunity for her gamer kids to learn from one another.
“‘Spore’ is a great cross-curricular learning platform. It provides kids with a new way of engaging with content and conveying larger educational concepts, whether it is math, science, geography or literature, in a way that is compelling to them.”
Winners who designed “Spore” adventures will be hosted, along with a parent or guardian, on a trip to Electronic Arts, the game design company that developed “Spore.” Kids who won for creating new levels for “LittleBigPlanet” will receive a Sony PSP-3000 system.
The kids’ competition is part of the HASTAC/MacArthur 2010 Digital Media and Learning Competition: Reimagining Learning, an annual effort designed to find — and to inspire — the most novel uses of new media. The competition awards $2 million annually to innovators shaping the field of digital media and learning. View the full list of winners here.
Spotlight has posted a number of video interviews with winners of the adult Game Changers Competition who, like their young counterparts, have won awards for new and creative game play experiences that leverage principles of science, technology, engineering and math. Stay tuned for more.
Read an article about the Hansons in the Albuquerque Journal and watch the video below for more on Jack Hanson’s winning adventure. Can you survive on the desert island? As Jack says: “You’ll have to play, again and again and again to find out!”
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