Face off with real-life cybersecurity scenarios in 14-year-old Pranav Patil’s original game design, Cyber Champion. After participating in CyberPatriot, a national cybersecurity competition in which students configure systems to be secure, Pranav was determined to educate others on the vulnerabilities of the cyber world. “I wanted to create a fun and simple way for kids to learn how to be safe online,” explains the student from San Diego, California. By combining classic platformer gameplay with a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative, Cyber Champion captured the High School Games for Change title in the 2017 National STEM Video Game Challenge.
At age 10, Pranav’s sister introduced him to MIT App Inventor 2, and he was instantly hooked. “Soon I noticed the constraints of using a drag-and-drop interface and began studying different [programming] languages in order to improve,” says Pranav. While developing Cyber Champion, he learned how to make his code more efficient, and to focus on the game’s storyline from the beginning as the driving force. “It’s really important to stick with a project until it’s complete,” Pranav shares. “Things can get frustrating and complicated, and you might need to take a small break, but don’t let a project go because you run into problems.”
When he’s not programming, Pranav enjoys playing soccer, basketball, and ultimate frisbee. “I also like watching movies with my family and being silly with my sister,” says Pranav. After high school he plans to study computer science or computer engineering.