It was a love of dinosaurs that sparked inspiration for 15-year-old Mason Felton’s original video game design, Extinction. Integrating rich custom backgrounds and thoughtfully leveled gameplay, the game invites players to navigate Earth as a dinosaur named Jeff, who, despite his omnivore upbringing, aims to avoid meat whenever possible. The peaceful reptile’s perilous journey through a quickly-changing climate won Mason, from Ripon, Wisconsin, the High School Gamestar Mechanic title in the 2017 National STEM Video Game Challenge.
When he’s not developing video games, Mason likes to draw and write stories. He’s also active in Boy Scouts, and is currently working on completing his Eagle Project. He credits his mom for inspiring the best in his design process: “She pushes me to be a better person,” says the designer, “and encourages me to do things to the best of my ability.” After high school, Mason hopes to integrate his interest in design as an engineer.