For 10-year-old Puja Chopade of Madison, Alabama, major world problems like global warming served as inspiration for her video game design. Puja’s original game, Save the World!, won the Middle School Game Design Document category of the 2016 National STEM Video Game Challenge. In Save the World!, players learn about ecological problems around the world, and suggest possible solutions in order to earn points. As points are collected, the player is able to grow a variety of animals through different stages of development, unlocking additional organisms along the way.
Puja’s interest in creating video games stems from an introduction to Code.org from a teacher back in 2014. When she’s not creating games of her own, Puja enjoys reading, playing chess, and doing math. “When you think you have done your best, make it better,” Puja suggests to aspiring designers, advice largely informed by the popular chess adage, “When you find a good move, look for a better one.” In the future, Puja hopes to apply her love of mathematics as an engineer.