The Kudo Cup Contest in the US was organised this spring to mark the launch of the latest Kodu Game Lab for PC. The grand prize winner of this game creation contest for kids is a 10-year old girl.
As we reported in March, the Kodu Cup is a game creation contest for kids aged 9 to 17 with a top prize of $5,000, a trip to New York to attend the Imagine Cup Finals, an Xbox 360 with Kinect and a Toshiba laptop with Microsoft Office Professional 2010.
The quality of the entries appears to have been high. Brad Gibson, a senior program manager with Microsoft Research, which created the free game development tool which is used worldwide to teach kids to program, observed:
"These kids, frankly, did things in Kodu that I hadn't thought of before. Kids had zombies and fantasy worlds, monsters and infective diseases, mythical heroes – there was just this incredible variety. On one hand you say, 'Hey, they're kids, you expect a lot of imagination.' But when you see the depth of gameplay and the richness of the stories they created, I think many of these kids could be on their way to being world-class game designers."
The Grand Prize has been won by a Hannah, aged 10 from Leominster, Massachusetts. Her game is called Toxic, and in it players collect coins and hearts while solving puzzles to help save the environment. In Hannah’s own words:
“My game is about how the environment is getting polluted, and we need to help shut the factories down and cause less pollution".
The winner of the First Prize (a Toshiba Windows laptop with Microsoft Office Home & Student) in the 9-12 years old category, David aged 9, also comes from Leominster, Massachusetts described on the Microsoft Unlimited Potential blog as "a future hotbed of games development!" In his game, called Alien Attack, the Galactaliens are trying to take over the world and you have to stop them. According to the Microsoft announcement:
It is a delightfully whimsical world with fish swimming in a bowl-less pond, flowers growing in strange places and enemies, and submarines bobbing in what looks like a floating island of lava.
First prize in the senior category (13-17 years) goes to 15-year old Jacen from Silver Spring, Maryland whose game The Vortex was inspired both by the programming experience, and by the movie Tron. Microsoft's comments on the entry are:
It’s a beautiful looking game which opens with the world under nuclear attack. While humanity has found a way to “upload” itself to a virtual world and launch into space to avoid extinction, one of the creators of this virtual world wasn’t able to make it into the virtual world on time. Out of anger, she unleashed a virus – Vira X – which the player must defeat.
Jacen's prize also includes a trip to New York to the Imagine Cup Finals where he and Hannah may be inspired to enter the Microsoft Student competition once they are old enough.