I've taken Barack Obama to task on this very blog for making anti-gaming statements in the past. Well I guess he read my posts, because Barry seems to have reversed course on gaming, and is now encouraging kids to make games... as long as they're educational. Talk about flip-flopping! Anyway, Barack's White House and others are sponsoring a contest to find the best middle school game designer through the National STEM Video Game Challenge.
The Challenge aims to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning by tapping into students’ "natural passion for playing and making video games." Basically, you design a game, either on paper or a playable video game, and submit it. The winners get fabulous prizes of computer equipment, software or cash.
"Our success as a nation depends on strengthening America’s role as the world’s engine of discovery and innovation," said President Obama in a statement. "I applaud partners in the National STEM Video Game Challenge for lending their resources, expertise, and their enthusiasm to the task of strengthening America’s leadership in the 21st century by improving education in science, technology, engineering and math."
The prizes are pretty sweet: A total prize pool of $50k for the middle school kids who win along and another $50k for the grown-up developers who are victorious.
Full details right here.
This all got me thinking about educational video games, specifically, I'm trying to recall if I ever learned anything practical from gaming. I mean, sure, I know that you use a shotgun for close-range face-shooting, but I haven't had to put that into practice. I guess I improved my typing through Typing of the Dead, and I learned a few vague facts about ancient cultures from Age of Empires, but I don't know if I've retained any useful knowledge from gaming. What about you guys? Did games teach you anything? If so, what?