Aspiring movie director Himani Chonkar, age 11, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, shows a clear sense of cinematic vision in her original video game concept, STEM Obstacle Course. Positioned as the “ultimate challenge” in gaming, the players are offered a preview of upcoming levels at a distance and the opportunity to select the avatars and abilities best suited to complete required tasks and puzzles. Judges were impressed by her plans, which integrated a variety of key STEM concepts, and named her game the winner of the Middle School Written Game Design Document category in the 2017 National STEM Video Game Challenge.
“The most valuable lesson I learned is to make a game that’s challenging enough for a person to want to keep playing, where they can’t just press a few buttons and win,” says Himani. “It has to be fun, engaging, but not impossible.” In addition to developing original designs and playing video games on Scratch, her hobbies include volleyball, playing piano, dancing, and traveling. “Don’t be afraid to try ideas that haven’t been thought of before,” she encourages other aspiring designers. “Think outside the box.”