GamesByTeens hosts video game competition for area teens

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GamesByTeens will be hosting a four-week contest for middle and high school students that began on Oct. 15 at Muskingum University.

Muskingum Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Contest Organizer, Jay Shaffstall, said he is looking forward to the event.

“For me, it’s a way of getting computer science out in front of kids who don’t have that opportunity in high school,” said Shaffstall. “Very few of the high schools around here teach any computer science.”

Shaffstall said many students who participate in the event come from schools who do not have computer science programs.

“For them, it’s their first view of ‘how do I make a computer do what I want it to do,’” said Shaffstall. “Getting them over that hump and seeing what they can create… that’s what is fun for me.”

Shaffstall said most high schools currently do not offer computer science classes “in any way, shape or form,” meaning students are not able to explore the field of study.

“I’m trying to give, at least the kids in this three-county area, the chance to see that,” said Shaffstall. “If it’s something they really, really enjoy, then they can study it further on their own and go to college for it.”

Shaffstall said he, one or two people from the surrounding area, and possibly one or two representatives from the 1st Playable Productions video game company are the judges for this year’s competition.

GamesByTeens is a local organization that helps teens learn the basics of computer programming and game design. The group uses Game Maker, a program targeted towards users with little to no programming knowledge.

The event features three Saturday learning sessions held on Oct. 15, 22, and 29, located in Room 294 of the Boyd Science Center. The award ceremony will be held Saturday, Nov. 12 in Room 336.

Shaffstall said the event is open to students in the surrounding area between ages 12 and 18 years old.

Shaffstall said prizes will be given to the top three students as well as any student who complete a game.

For more information on the event, students can visit gamesbyteens.org or call Shaffstall at 740-826-8333.

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