Student video game designers take up the challenges

Nearly 2,800 grade 5 to 12 students from schools across Australia entered the competition to design and build an original video game, which this year was to address the theme of ‘ladder’. Winners in six categories defined by age group and game design platform will be presented at the gaming convention PAX Aus online this weekend (October 8-10).

Established in 2014, the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge aims to engage students in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Challenge leader and ACER Foundation director Lisa Norris said this year’s nominations demonstrated incredible resilience and resourcefulness to complete their games in such a troubled school year.

“Several teams mentioned in their submissions the challenges they had to overcome to collaboratively design and build a video game during a pandemic,” Ms. Norris said.

“The fact that two of the six winning teams are from Melbourne, where there have been long periods of distance learning, demonstrates the problem-solving, creativity and collaborative skills that students can develop through design. games. “

In their latest biennial report on gambling in Australia, ‘Digital Australia 2020: the power of games‘, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) and Bond University found that a quarter of parents surveyed in 2019 said their child had developed video games in school as part of their formal education. According to ACER Professor Pauline Taylor-Guy, since then the shift to distance learning has created more opportunities for the use of digital technology and games in education.

“This year we have seen remarkable ways in which teachers and students have adapted to distance learning,” said Professor Taylor-Guy.

“While this has undoubtedly been a challenge, digital technology and critical and creative thinking on the part of learners and educators have generated major changes in the way we think about where, what and how to learn.

“The educational benefits of the past 18 months include greater flexibility in program delivery, collaboration within and between schools, an increased appetite for innovation and recognition of the potential of digital technologies, including games. in education, to provide a more individualized learning experience. “

The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is coordinated by the charitable arm of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the ACER Foundation. Sponsors and supporters of the 2021 Challenge include BigAnt Studios, Creative Vic, IGEA, Roccat, Scientific work and PAX Aus, as well as universities, partner companies and game developers.

Registration for the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge 2022 opens in early 2022. For more information, visit

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge 2021 Winners:

Years 5-8: Playable game – Open category

School: Richmond North Public School, NSW

Game title: Scalize

Game description: This game is a platform game with a unique twist. All the levels have scattered portals and you have to use them to your advantage in order to beat the level. You can only get taller, jump higher, and move faster if you go through a portal and morph into a larger size.

Team: “Mega Power Up! “- Dylan W, Liam D and William

Years 5-8: Playable game developed in GODOT

School: Notre-Dame du Sacré-Coeur College, VIC

Game title: Scrapyard Escape

Game description: Our game tells the story of a man called Nox, who wakes up in a dazed heist. He has amnesia and doesn’t remember what happened before waking up in the junkyard, but he knows he has to escape.

Screenshot of Scrapyard Escape
Team: ‘Jele’ – Elena C, Emily Q, Jessica L and Laura J

Years 5-8: Playable game developed in Scratch

School: West End State School, QLD

Game title: Arachnophobia

Game description: A text-based adventure style game (similar to choosing your own adventure) with occasional “mini-games” that the player will have to beat to progress. The game takes place in a system of secret caves under the courtyard of the main character Lemon Boy.

Arachnophobia screenshot
Team: “Two frames per second” – Lily M, Mary M, Scarlett H and Eunice O

9-12 years old: Playable game – Open category

Team: Unidentified Inc. – Henry R, ​​Nicholas T and Zach W

School: Knox School, VIC

Game title: Space Blob Advance

Game description: This game tells the story of a character who crosses levels of the Earth to reach the Underworld. To cross each level of the Earth, the character starts off as a small drop and gains mass.

Years 9-12: Playable game developed in GODOT

School: Perth Modern School, WA

Game title: Global scale

Game description: The objective of the game is to win the 7 orbs by performing puzzles centered around 7 mechanics, in order to complete a major scale and restore music to your islands.

Global screenshot
Team: ‘studio tromboon’ – Jason D and Joseph N

Years 9-12: Playable game developed in Unity and Unreal

School: Lumen Christi Catholic College, NSW

Game title: Murus

Game Description: Murus (the Latin word for “wall”) sees players navigate a plethora of unique levels as they climb walls, with a “floor is lava” death system. Players must collect all the magic orbs as fast as they can in order to progress through the various stages.

Murus screenshot
Team: ‘Soulcube’ – Maxwell A and Jade S

Media inquiries:

ACER Communication
+61 419 340 058
[email protected]

Notes to media:

  • Links to playable versions of the winning games are available on the Challenge website PAX Aus Online exhibitor page.
  • For media comments of the winning teams / schools, please contact the schools directly.