Hi folks,

Five weeks ago we launched Imagine Cup's first contest for kids: the Kodu Challenge. Now kids all over the planet are creating their own videogames using Microsoft Research's Kodu Game Lab, which is free for download wherever you live and which has more than 16,000 kid-made videogames available for you to play whenever you want.

I have some great news about Kodu to share today.

Kodu Game Lab at the White House Science Fair

alternate textGustavo Zacarias and his sister at the White House Science Fair
Photo: Christa Avampato, Joan Ganz Cooney Center

First off, this past week at the White House, President Obama hosted the annual White House Science Fair. One of our partners in the Kodu Challenge is the Joan Ganz Cooney Center for Digital Media at Sesame Workshop and they shared the following about one of the student attendees at that prestigious event:


Gustavo Zacarias, a middle school student from San Antonio, Texas, built The Dark Labyrinth on Kodu Game Lab and was invited to exhibit his video game at the fair. The Dark Labyrinth is a 3-D maze that players navigate by solving math challenges. Gustavo began playing video games at age 4 and plans to build a career as a video game designer.

“I never thought I would be exhibiting my game at the White House,” said Gustavo. “I worked very hard during the making of the game and was very happy about winning a national competition, so I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity to be part of this great event.”


Gustavo didn't just make a great Kodu game and meet the President. He was also one of the winners of the Cooney Center's National STEM Video Game Challenge, an annual contest open to students in the United States. If you're a U.S. student in grades five through twelve, you still have until May 1st to submit your Kodu Game Lab project to this year's contest!

And if you do, guess what: you can also submit your project to the global Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge! Students worldwide are invited to submit their projects to our contest, which ends May 17.

New Kodu for Kids Book

This great new book by James F. Kelly is your complete guide to creating videogames with Kodu Game Lab. Written with help from the Kodu team at Microsoft, this book will help you learn to build complete games from start to finish. You can order it now in print or ebook formats. If you've been on the fence about diving into Kodu Game Lab, this book is just what you need to get started!

Here's some examples of the book's topics:

Learn how games really work; Master Kodu's easy tools, controls, and programming; Imagine your quest and plan your game; Script a great story; Create your characters and make them move and talk; Invent and build new worlds; Design weapons, targets, and objects; Build enemies and make them fight; Add amazing sound, music, and special effects; Set up multiple players, levels, and points; Discover expert tips and tricks for better games; Make everything work together; and Share your games with players all over the world.

Still Time To Submit Your Game!

One last reminder: you need to submit your Kodu Game Lab project to the National STEM Video Game Challenge (for U.S students) by May 1st, and to the Imagine Cup Kodu Challenge by May 17. We can't wait to see your amazing games!

John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Competition Manager
Microsoft Academic Programs