Meet the Winnners: John Korhel, Alex Lawrence, and John Ripple


John Korhel, Alex Lawrence, and John Ripple

Journey into the depths of an ancient tomb as you navigate The Pyramid, an intricate platform game rich with Egyptian mythology, secret levels, and powerful spells. Created by Parker, Colorado-based teammates John Korhel (age 16), Alex Lawrence (age 16), and John Ripple (age 16), The Pyramid was awarded the High School Team Open Platform title in the 2017 National STEM Video Game Challenge. In 2015, Korhel and Ripple won the Middle School Team Open Platform category in the STEM Challenge with their imaginative platformer design, The Cube’s Journey. 

Inspired by a love of mythology, Korhel, Lawrence, and Ripple brought their game design to life by integrating trivia and detailed animations throughout The PyramidFor Alex Lawrence, time management was a key takeaway from the STEM Challenge experience. “Don’t mess around,” he cautions other aspiring developers.”It’s important to manage your time wisely when you’re working on a project with a tight deadline.” In addition to game design, Alex enjoys playing video games and practicing guitar. After high school he plans to study astronomy.

“When you’re learning, use YouTube as a resource to teach yourself,” suggests John Ripple. “And be sure to read the documentation for the game engine you decide to work with.” When he isn’t designing, John enjoys watching Netflix, walking his dog, and reading. After high school he plans to study mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, or computer science.

Despite the challenges associated with developing two original video games, John Korhel remains adamant that passion should lead the way when it comes to design. “Follow your dreams, regardless of roadblocks,” he recommends. “No matter how difficult a problem may seem, there are always solutions waiting to be discovered.” His hobbies include backpacking, gaming, and web design. He plans to study computer science or film after high school.


Screenshot from The Pyramid by John Korhel, Alex Lawrence, and John Ripple. (High School Open Platform Team)