Meet the Winners: Nathan Kuravackal

by Katy Svehaug
November 14, 2016

With only one level to go before receiving his black belt, 11-year-old Nathan Kuravackal drew on his extensive training in Taekwondo to create Can’t Catch Me!, winner of the Nat Geo Explore Game Design Document Middle School category in the 2016 National STEM Video Game Challenge. The Tacoma, Washington native was inspired by his instructor Master Shon to create a puzzle-based game with a ninja as the main character. In Can’t Catch Me!, players travel through real-world destinations avoiding obstacles, battling enemies, and solving puzzles. “I picked locations that I had some personal connection to,” Nathan explains, featuring settings like Kerala, India where his grandparents grew up and Milford Sound, a fjord in New Zealand near the area where his family’s recent exchange students visited them from.

Can't Catch Me by Nathan Kuravackal is the winner of the Nat Geo Explore game design document/middle school category

Can’t Catch Me by Nathan Kuravackal is the winner of the Nat Geo Explore game design document/middle school category

When he’s not practicing martial arts, Nathan enjoys reading, playing puzzle and adventure games, and performing piano and clarinet with the jazz band. Nathan hopes to attend MIT when he’s older, and dreams of becoming an architect or engineer. He’s looking forward to turning Can’t Catch Me! into a playable game in the coming year as he teaches himself Unity. “I want to include real sounds like Master Shon’s voice, my friend’s evil laugh, and fighting sounds from the Taekwondo studio,” says Nathan, who plans to publish his game in the App Store once complete.


  • JK

    That’s my boy! So proud of Nathan for working hard on his game design. I think he was the youngest winner this year. I’m excited to see the design come to life as a playable game.

  • Mary Kuravackal

    So proud of my only grandson, Nathan and his accomplishments. May the Lord give you wisdom and directions in all you future endeavors.

  • Mathew Kuravackal

    Congrats Nathan! I can’t wait to play the game “Can’t Catch Me” with you. May the Lord help you realize all your dreams!

  • Zachary Johnson

    Good job! Can’t wait to play it!

    • AJ

      yes good job Nathan that’s so cool! 😀 -AJ

  • Great job Nathan! So happy to see Tacoma represent in the winners!