Glitchbusters and their teacher at the 2013 National Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall! From left: Ashwin Datta, Kyle Hiebel, Chitra Datta, Justin Mellott and Andrei Blebea.

Glitchbusters and their teacher at the 2013 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall! From left: Ashwin Datta, Justin Mellott, Chitra Datta, Kyle Hiebel, and Andrei Blebea.

What makes a video game not just fun, but addictively amazing? We asked Glitchbusters, a team of 4 high school students from Hillsboro, Oregon whose game earned a 2013 Gold Medal in our Video Games Category and a $1,000 AMD Game Changer Award. Almost as impressive as this recent achievement is that fact that they designed it as a team: they’ve been studying and designing games together for 4 years—and they’re still friends! Check out our Q & A with them below.

What is Glitchbusters? How did the group come together?
We’re Ashwin Datta, Andrei Blebea, Kyle Hiebel and Justin Mellott. Besides being friends and avid gamers ourselves, we have been programming for about 4 years. Our original games were all made in Game Maker while our latest game, Modern Health Care, was made in XNA, which is a programming framework based on C#.

What’s your 2013 Award-winning game about?
Building Spree: Mars Edition is an intricate tycoon game in which you must build and manage a colony on Mars. Read More

Starting September 17, teens in grades 7 through 12 can submit their video game designs to the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Today, however, we’re celebrating Video Game Day! Alliance staffer and avid gamer Scott Larner shares his thoughts on the importance of gaming in the following post. We hope it inspires you to submit your game!

On my sixth birthday a heavy thud on my bed woke me.  My dad was standing in my room smiling and a brand new, unopened Nintendo rested by my feet. I spent the day shooting ducks and jumping on mushrooms, and I have been playing and enjoying video games ever since.

Video Games have had a long, strange journey to prominence in our culture. Once upon a time, the common conception of a video game player was a lonely dude sitting in a dark room by himself; these days it impossible to take a fifteen-minute subway ride without seeing a kid playing a racing game on his PSP, a businessman tending to a virtual farm on his iPad, and a young lady playing word games with friends on a smart phone. Video games have become a ubiquitous and integral part of our lives, and as they continue to grow in popularity, we continue to expand what we expect of the media and how we use it in our lives.

It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with my colleagues at The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to expand the role of our Video Game Design category over the last three years. The talent and creativity that we find in students creating games is astounding. Read More

Robert Lauer. Basil's Quest. Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Gold Medal, Video Games.

As part of this summer’s START.WRITE.NOW, we’re featuring the What’s Your Story video game design challenge in partnership with Gamestar Mechanic. Video games often involve rich narratives that lead players along in their game play and give them hints, ideas and goals to achieve. Can you tell a story through your game design? Give it a shot! The deadline for this challenge is August 15, 2012. Read More

Students love using Gamestar Mechanic!

Today is Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized educational experience. In recognizing this special day, the Alliance welcomes our friends at E-Line Media as guest bloggers:

Read More

"Speed Demon," Charles Roushey. Grade 7, Age 12. Gold Medal, AMD Game Changer Award, Video Game Design.

From Guest Blogger John Kollmer, Video Game Extraordinaire

Gone are the days when video games were merely a form of entertainment and a bane to every parent’s attempt to get their kid to do their homework. Today, students of all ages can apply their love of gaming to prepare for 21st century careers. You can explore climate patterns and outer space; learn about the government and international relations; and even propose plans for saving the planet’s expendable resources – all through video games.
Read More

Tony Hawk

This year, we were lucky to have Tony Hawk as a judge for the Video Game Design category of the Scholastic Awards. Tony brought enthusiasm and expertise to an already exciting award. Click through to hear what Tony has to say about creativity and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
Read More