STEM Video Games: An Engaging Way to Learn and Play

Have you ever heard of STEM video games? If not, don’t worry, because this post will explore everything you need to know about this fascinating topic. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, which are all crucial areas of knowledge in today’s fast-paced world.

With the increasing popularity of video games, many educators and parents are looking for ways to incorporate these games into STEAM education programs. Video games are not only fun and engaging, but they can also develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and creativity in children and teens.

In this post, we’ll delve into the world of STEM video games, including what they are, how they can benefit players of all ages, and some examples of STEM game ideas suitable for kids as young as 12. You’ll also discover the National STEM Video Game Challenge, an exciting opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and win great prizes.

So, whether you’re a teacher, parent, or simply interested in learning more about the intersection of video games and STEAM education, keep reading to explore the exciting world of STEM video games!

The Evolution of Video Games

Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong and Space Invaders. Today’s video games are more immersive, realistic, and engaging than ever before. Let’s take a look at the evolution of video games.

The Beginnings

  • Video games were first introduced in the 1970s and were a simple form of entertainment.
  • The first popular video game was Pong, released in 1972.
  • In 1977, Atari released the Atari 2600 home console, which became a huge success.

The Golden Age

  • The 1980s saw the birth of classic video games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros.
  • Home consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Sega Genesis were released in the mid-1980s, ushering in a new era of gaming.
  • This period is known as the golden age of video games.

3D Gaming

  • The 1990s saw the emergence of 3D gaming, with games like Doom and Quake pushing the boundaries of what was possible.
  • Home consoles like the Sony PlayStation and the Nintendo 64 were released, featuring 3D graphics and immersive gameplay.

Modern Gaming

  • Today’s video games are more sophisticated than ever before, with hyper-realistic graphics and complex gameplay.
  • Online gaming has become a huge industry, with multiplayer games like Fortnite and Call of Duty attracting millions of players worldwide.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) technology is also becoming increasingly popular, allowing players to immerse themselves in the game world like never before.

From humble beginnings to cutting-edge technology, video games have come a long way. The evolution of video games shows no signs of slowing down, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

The Impact of Steam on Video Games

Steam is an online distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation in 2003, designed to sell video games digitally and provide gamers with a variety of features, such as multiplayer, digital rights management, and automatic updates. Since its inception, Steam has revolutionized the gaming industry, and its impact on the video game industry is undeniable. Here’s a closer look at the impact of Steam on video games.

Growth and Popularity of Steam

Steam has grown exponentially over the years, with more and more gamers flocking to the platform for various reasons, including:

  • Steam sales: During the Steam sales, gamers can purchase popular video games at a significantly lower price. The sales are often seasonal and cater to different audiences, from holiday sales to summer sales.

  • Game Library: Steam boasts of an extensive library of video games of various genres, from action to simulations. With over 20,000 games, Steam provides gamers with a variety of games to choose from, and the library keeps growing.

  • Gaming Community: Steam is not only a platform for buying and selling video games, but it’s also a social platform where gamers can interact with each other. Steam allows users to form groups, create game events, and find other gamers with similar interests.

With an ever-growing gaming community, Steam’s impact on the video game industry is not slowing down anytime soon.

Valve’s Support for Indie Developers

Steam has been instrumental in supporting indie game developers, enabling a new generation of video game creators to reach a broader audience through their platform. By providing indie developers with a platform to distribute their games, Steam has empowered a new generation of developers to create innovative video games and bring fresh ideas to the industry.

Steam’s DRM

Steam’s digital rights management (DRM) has revolutionized the way video game companies manage their products. With Steam, game companies can protect their products from illegal distribution and piracy, ensuring that game developers and publishers receive the financial benefits they rightly deserve. Steam’s DRM has been praised for its effectiveness and ease of use, providing an enhanced level of security for game companies.

Game Updates and Patches

Steam has also changed the way video game updates and patches are released and managed. With Steam, updates and patches are released automatically, making it easier for gamers to keep their games up to date. This feature is especially critical for online multiplayer games where any delays in the release of an update or patch can result in users being unable to play the game.

From its humble beginnings to its current status as the largest online gaming platform, Steam has significantly impacted the video game industry. Valve’s support for indie developers, the effectiveness of Steam’s DRM, the ease of game updates and patches, and the vast gaming community have all played a critical role in Steam’s success. It’s safe to say that Steam is here to stay and will continue to shape the future of video games for years to come.

Game Ideas: How to Keep the Fun Rolling!

When it comes to video games, there’s no limit to the amount of entertainment they can provide. But sometimes, even the most devoted gamers get stuck in a rut, playing the same games over and over again. That’s where fresh game ideas come in handy! Here are some fun and creative ways to keep your gaming experience exciting and fresh:

1. Word Sneak

If you’re a fan of improv, you’ll love Word Sneak! The premise is simple: while playing any game, slip in random words that have no relation to what you’re doing. Your goal is to do it without anyone noticing. This makes for some hilarious moments, and it’s a great way to keep things unpredictable.

2. DIY Mods

If you’re feeling daring, try your hand at creating mods for your favorite games. Mods are user-generated content that can change everything from the physics of the game to the storyline. The possibilities are endless, and the satisfaction of creating something new is unbeatable.

3. Multi-Game Tournaments

Instead of playing one game against your friends, mix it up with a tournament-style day or weekend. Create a bracket and play various games until a winner is crowned. This is an excellent way to try out new games while hanging out with your friends.

4. Speedrunning Challenges

Speedrunning is all about completing games as quickly as possible. Challenge yourself to see how fast you can beat a game, or create challenges for your friends to compete against you. You’ll need quick reflexes and excellent timing to master this game mode.

5. VR Gaming Night

If you have access to virtual reality equipment, consider hosting a VR gaming night. Virtual reality games provide an immersive experience that will leave you feeling like you’re inside the game. This is an excellent way to mix up your gaming experience and try something new.

Playing video games is a fantastic way to unwind and have fun, but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. By trying out these game ideas, you’ll keep your gaming experience fresh and exciting. So grab some friends, choose a game, and let the fun begin!

What is STEM

Are you interested in video games and wondering what the term STEM means? Well, you’re not alone! STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is a term used to refer to these disciplines as they relate to education, careers, and technology.

STEM education has become increasingly important in recent years due to the growing demand for workers in STEM-related fields. Understanding STEM concepts is essential for students who want to pursue careers in these fields, including video game development.

The Importance of STEM in Video Game Development

STEM concepts are vital in video game development at every stage of the process. Here are some of the areas where STEM is crucial:

  • Coding: Developing video games requires an extensive knowledge of programming languages, including C++, Java, Python, and more. Programmers use their skills in software engineering to write efficient and error-free code.

  • Design: Building a video game requires skills in engineering and mathematics, such as 3D modeling and Geometry. Designing game mechanics, creating levels, and balancing gameplay requires an understanding of game design principles in software engineering and STEM concepts.

  • Graphics: The graphical quality of a video game is essential in creating immersive experiences for players. Graphic artists and designers must have a deep knowledge of computer graphics, including vector and raster graphics, and image processing.

  • Hardware: Video games run on various hardware, including consoles, computers, and mobile devices. Understanding how different types of hardware interact with software is crucial in video game development.

Benefits of Studying STEM

Studying STEM subjects provides numerous benefits for students. Here are a few of the advantages to studying STEM:

  • Career Opportunities: STEM fields offer some of the most exciting and lucrative jobs in the world, and demand for skilled workers in these fields continues to grow.

  • Innovation and Creativity: STEM subjects provide an opportunity to think creatively and innovate. By combining science, engineering, and mathematics, professionals can come up with unique solutions to complex problems.

  • Problem Solving: STEM skills develop problem-solving skills that can be applied in all areas of life. By understanding how things work and applying analytical skills, students become better at identifying and solving problems.

  • Global Importance: The world today faces some of the most significant challenges, including global warming and pandemics, which require a strong understanding of STEM-related fields to develop solutions for these problems.

Understanding the importance of STEM is vital for aspiring video game developers. STEM subjects lay the foundation for the skills required for developing video games, including coding, design, graphics, and understanding the hardware on which games run. Studying STEM fields provides numerous benefits, including exciting career opportunities, innovation and creativity, problem-solving skills, and a global perspective. With the demand for skilled workers in STEM fields on the rise, it’s an excellent time to pursue a career in this exciting and rewarding field!

Video Game Challenges

When it comes to video games, many players are always on the lookout for new challenges. In fact, the challenges are often what keep players coming back for more hours of gameplay. Here are some of the most popular video game challenges:

Time Trials

These challenges test a player’s speed and precision. The goal is to complete a course or level as quickly as possible. Time trials are usually featured in racing games, but they can also be found in other types of games.

High Scores

High score challenges are all about racking up the most points. Players try to beat their previous high score or compete with other players for the top spot on a leaderboard. These challenges are often found in classic arcade-style games.


Speedruns are similar to time trials, but are more specific. Players try to complete a game or level as quickly as possible, using glitches and other exploits to shave off seconds. These challenges require a lot of skill and knowledge of the game.

No Damage Runs

For players who want a challenge that’s a little more hardcore, there are no damage runs. These challenges require players to complete a game or level without taking any damage. Even one hit from an enemy can mean game over.

Ironman Runs

Ironman runs are similar to no damage runs, but with one key difference: if the player dies, it’s game over for good. These challenges require a lot of skill, patience, and dedication.

Permadeath Runs

Permadeath runs take the challenge of ironman runs to the extreme. In permadeath runs, if the player dies, they have to start the game over from the beginning. Only the most dedicated and skilled players attempt these challenges.

Five Finger Fillet

This challenge is a little more lighthearted than the others on this list. Five Finger Fillet is a mini-game in which the player has to stab a knife between their fingers without cutting themselves. The challenge comes from increasing the speed and difficulty as the player progresses.

One-Handed Play

For players who want to handicap themselves, there’s one-handed play. This challenge requires players to complete a game or level using only one hand. It’s a difficult challenge that requires a lot of practice and skill.

Pacifist Runs

In games where killing enemies is a central mechanic, pacifist runs offer a unique challenge. The goal is to complete the game or level without killing any enemies. Pacifist runs require careful planning, evasion, and a lot of patience.

These are just a few examples of the many video game challenges out there. Whatever your play style, there’s sure to be a challenge that will keep you engaged and entertained for hours on end. So, next time you’re looking for a new way to test your gaming skills, give one of these challenges a try!

What is STEM in Gaming

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in gaming refers to the application of these subject fields in video game development. It involves designing and coding video games that involve real-world physics, mechanics, and logic. STEM in gaming has gained popularity over the years, and it has impacted the gaming industry in significant ways. Here are some facts you need to know:

The Science Behind Video Game Development

  • To create a video game, game developers use science principles such as physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics to design the virtual world in a realistic way.
  • Physics concepts like friction, acceleration, and motion are used to make the game characters move and interact with the environment.
  • Chemistry is used to implement special effects in the game, like explosions and fire.
  • Biology is used to model living creatures that interact with the game’s environment.

Technology in Gaming

  • Technology is used in various aspects of video game development. For instance, video game consoles rely heavily on advanced hardware and software components to deliver high-quality gaming experiences.
  • Furthermore, advancements in Artificial Intelligence have led to more realistic game characters and enhanced gameplay experiences.

Engineering Aspects of Video Game Development

  • Engineering plays a crucial role in video game development, starting from the design phase to actual development. Game developers use engineering concepts like systems and software engineering to structure and design the game architecture.
  • Engineers also use hardware engineering to design and develop gaming consoles, graphics cards, and other gaming peripherals.

Mathematics in Gaming

  • Math plays an essential role in video game development, from designing the game architecture to coding and testing.
  • Game developers use math concepts such as probability, trigonometry, and calculus to design game mechanics like enemy AI, collision detection, and physics engines.

In conclusion, STEM is a critical aspect of video game development as it enhances the overall gaming experience. Understanding STEM concepts is essential for anyone interested in pursuing a career in game development. So the next time you play your favorite video game, remember that it is a product of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Games for 12 Year Olds

At the age of 12, games have become an integral part of a child’s world. With the constant evolution of technology and advancements in graphics, there is no shortage of games for this age group. However, as a parent, it can be challenging to find games that are not only entertaining but also age-appropriate. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the best games for 12-year-olds that will keep them engaged and entertained.

Educational Games

At this age, kids are still in school, and parents may prefer games that have an educational aspect to them. Below are some educational games that are perfect for this age group:

  • Math and Spelling Games: Games like Math Blaster and Spelling City help kids reinforce what they learn in class while having fun.
  • Epistemic Games: These games use real-world problems to teach scientific and engineering concepts. Games like Minecraft and Kerbal Space Program are great examples.

Multiplayer Games

Most 12-year-olds enjoy playing games with their friends, and multiplayer games are perfect for this. Here are some of the best multiplayer games for kids in this age-group:

  • Minecraft: Minecraft is one of the most popular multiplayer games available and has great social features.
  • Rocket League: This game allows players to team up and play soccer with rocket-powered cars in a futuristic arena.

Adventure and Roleplaying Games

Roleplaying games are great for kids in this age group because they promote creativity and problem-solving skills. Here are some adventure and roleplaying games that 12-year-olds are sure to enjoy:

  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: This is an action-adventure game that lets players explore a vast open-world full of puzzles and quests.
  • Pokémon Black/White Version: This game is great for kids who love collecting things. It’s an adventure game where the goal is to catch all the available Pokémon.

Sports and Racing Games

Sports and racing games are perfect for kids who love to compete. These games require quick reflexes and strategic thinking. Here are some popular sports and racing games for kids:

  • FIFA 21: This is a popular soccer game that comes with updated stats and new features every year.
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: This is a great racing game that includes fun modes like mini-games and battle mode.

Finding games that are perfect for 12-year-olds can be challenging, but with this list, you have a starting point to help keep your child entertained and engaged. Remember to always review the game and ensure they are appropriate for your child’s age. This way, you can ensure that your child has a fun and safe gaming experience.

Are Video Games Considered STEM

When we think about the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), we often picture scientists in labs or engineers designing complex structures. However, there is a growing interest in the role that video games can play in promoting STEM education and careers. Let’s explore whether video games can be considered STEM and how they can contribute to STEM learning.

What is STEM

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These fields are vital to our modern world and provide the foundation for many industries, including healthcare, energy, and manufacturing. STEM education and careers are in high demand, and there is a need to encourage more students to pursue these fields.

Can Video Games Be Considered STEM

Video games can be considered a form of technology. They rely on programming, computer graphics, and hardware to create an interactive experience for the player. Some video games may even incorporate elements of science or engineering, such as physics simulations or puzzles that require logical thinking. Overall, the interactive and engaging nature of video games can help inspire an interest in STEM.

How Can Video Games Promote STEM Learning

Video games can be used in many different ways to promote STEM learning and careers. Here are a few examples:

  • STEM-focused games: Many video games are specifically designed to teach STEM concepts. These games can help students develop skills in math, physics, programming, and more. Examples include “Minecraft: Education Edition” and “Kerbal Space Program.”
  • Virtual simulations: Video games can provide a safe and controlled environment to simulate real-world scenarios. This can help students learn and practice skills in areas such as surgery, disaster response, and aviation.
  • Career exploration: Video games can expose players to different STEM careers and industries. Games like “Infinifactory” and “SpaceChem” allow players to design and build complex structures, giving them a taste of what it’s like to be an engineer.
  • Collaboration and problem-solving: Many video games require players to work together to solve problems and overcome obstacles. This can help develop skills in teamwork, communication, and critical thinking, all of which are essential in STEM fields.

While video games may not be traditionally thought of as STEM, they can certainly be a valuable tool in promoting STEM education and careers. By incorporating STEM concepts into games or using games to teach STEM skills, we can inspire students to explore these fields and pursue rewarding careers. Whether you’re a gamer or an educator, it’s exciting to see how video games can contribute to the future of STEM.

National STEM Video Game Challenge

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is a competition that aims to encourage students to develop their skills in STEM and pursue careers in related fields such as technology, engineering, and digital arts. This challenge provides an opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and innovation by creating original video games that address real-world issues and challenges.

Here are some key facts and takeaways about the National STEM Video Game Challenge:

What it is

  • The National STEM Video Game Challenge is a competition that encourages students to develop their skills in STEM fields and pursue careers in related fields such as technology, engineering, and digital arts.
  • The competition is open to middle and high school students in the United States.
  • The challenge is sponsored by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, E-Line Media, and the Entertainment Software Association.

How it works

  • The competition requires students to develop an original video game that addresses a social issue or real-world challenge.
  • The game should incorporate technical skills such as coding, game design, and digital art.
  • Submissions are judged based on creativity, innovation, and the potential for real-world impact.
  • Winners receive prizes such as game design software, game consoles, and cash awards.

Why it matters

  • The National STEM Video Game Challenge provides an opportunity for students to develop important skills such as problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking.
  • The competition also helps to promote STEM education and encourage more students to pursue careers in related fields.
  • The video games developed through this competition have the potential to address real-world issues and challenges, leading to positive social impact.

Success stories

  • The National STEM Video Game Challenge has produced numerous success stories, such as the game “Save the Park,” created by a team of students from New Jersey. The game addresses the issue of pollution in national parks and teaches players about sustainable practices.
  • Another success story is the game “Cell Command,” created by a team of students from Maine. The game teaches players about the inner workings of the human cell and was even adopted by a local hospital for use in patient education.

In conclusion, the National STEM Video Game Challenge is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their skills in STEM and pursue careers in related fields. By encouraging creativity and innovation, the competition helps to promote STEM education and has the potential to address real-world issues and challenges.

Games for Elementary Students

Elementary school-aged children are at a perfect age to start exploring video games. Not only are games a great way to teach children hand-eye coordination, but they can also act as excellent teaching tools. Here are some fun and educational games for elementary students.


Minecraft is a block-building game where players create their own custom worlds. The game encourages players to explore, build, and create. Children can learn about balance and symmetry by creating structures, planning, and executing their ideas. They can also learn about the different elements that make up the game world, such as water and fire.

Animal Jam

Animal Jam is an online game where players create an animal avatar and explore a world that is full of animal-themed adventures. The game teaches children about animals and how they live in different parts of the world. Players learn about habitats, food chains, and animal behaviors. The game’s best feature is the animal encyclopedia that comes with it, which children can use to learn about different animals.


Prodigy is an online math game that helps students learn math in a fun and interactive way. The game is played by creating a custom avatar, adventuring around a world, and battling monsters by using math skills. The monsters can only be defeated by solving math problems. The game is excellent for elementary school students because it covers a variety of math concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

PBS Kids Games

PBS Kids has a wide range of interactive games for children that are both educational and fun. From math and reading to social skills and emotional regulation, the games cover a variety of topics. One of its popular games is “Wild Kratts,” which teaches children about different animals and their habitats. “Dinosaur Train” teaches children about the different kinds of dinosaurs and their habits.

BrainPOP Jr. Games

BrainPOP Jr. has created a series of educational games that are perfect for elementary school-aged children. The games are designed to help children learn math, science, social studies, and English in a fun and interactive way. One of the popular games is “Number Jumble,” which helps children learn basic math concepts such as counting, addition, and subtraction. Each game includes an explanation of the concept being taught and a quiz at the end of the game to reinforce learning.

Key Takeaways

  • Video games can be a great way to teach children hand-eye coordination and other valuable skills.
  • Minecraft teaches children about balance and symmetry, while Animal Jam teaches children about different animals and their habitats.
  • Prodigy uses math skills to battle monsters and covers a wide range of math concepts such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • PBS Kids has a wide range of interactive games, including “Wild Kratts” and “Dinosaur Train,” that teach children about animals, habitats, and social skills.
  • BrainPOP Jr. has created educational games that cover math, science, social studies, and English. Each game includes an explanation of the concept being taught and a quiz at the end to reinforce learning.

So there you have it – some fun and educational video games for elementary school-aged children. No matter which game your child plays, make sure you set some boundaries around screen time and ensure that the games are age-appropriate. Happy gaming!

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