Space Merchants: AZ students win video game design competition; now headed to national competition

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Posted at 5:58 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 20:58:31-04

SURPRISE, AZ — Career and technical education programs are often seen as the building blocks for a strong, competitive workforce.

And two high school students in Surprise, Arizona are getting national attention for their work -- a video game they designed.

"A top-down shooter, where you fly around and collected metal from asteroids you destroyed, and you would sell this metal to get money which will help your ship become more powerful," said Aidan Davidson, describing the concept of the video game, "Space Merchant."

"We used a form of art where I could actually sit down and make a sketch about it and then use math to basically refine it into a nice-looking art piece," said Dylan Mudersbach.

Mudersbach and Davidson, both seniors at Willow Canyon High School, coded and designed the entire game, and recently won the Arizona state championship in the SkillsUSA competition for interactive game design.

"I love seeing students take what we're giving them and bring it to a whole different level," said their CTE Teacher, Alyson Titkemeyer.

Titkemeyer reached out to ABC15 about her students' achievements hoping to highlight their hard work and showcase what CTE programs can offer.

"With a career technical education these kids are preparing for real-world jobs that they really want," Titkemeyer said. "I get emotional talking about it and I wanted them to be able to share it with people and say, 'look at what's going on!'"

Mudersbach and Davidson will take their game to the national SkillsUSA competition this summer and are set to study video game coding and design when they start college in the Fall. However, their future plans go well beyond that.

"We're going to try to go revisit our shelved projects and make them into fully-fledged games," said Mudersbach.

"We're going to become an unstoppable duo," said Davidson.