Dominic Darby, an 11-year old student from St. Catherine, Jamaica, made headlines after winning the XPRIZE Connect Code Games global competition.
Darby was named “Best in Class,” and he was given a $1,000 cash prize in the Junior Division.
The non-profit California-based XPRIZE sponsored the competition in partnership with video game developer E-Line Media and supported by Endless Network, aiming to improve lives through technology.
Darby did not expect to win the competition as it was the first time he has created his own video game. He was one of the only 16 winners out of the 3,000 people who joined the global competition last year. The virtual ceremony was not held until Feb. 23, 2021, where XPRIZE announced the winners.
“In a time when innovation and creativity is needed more than ever to reimagine the future, I am proud to announce the next-generation winners of our Code Games challenge,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “This challenge is a testament to the skill, ingenuity and vision of the younger generation of innovators who will be integral in building the hopeful and abundant society we all want to live in.”
Around 70 participants were also from Jamaica.
Darby, who currently attends Kingston’s Wolmer’s Preparatory School and says he enjoys playing Minecraft and Roblox as well as chess and tennis. The young gaming prodigy is planning to study computer science and work in the same field someday.
According to Black Business, Darby used MIT’s Scratch coding software in creating his winning piece entitled “How To Fall.” In the game, the character moves through multiple levels while striving to avoid a slew of obstacles.
His mother, Shellian Darby, said he first learned about the platform when he was 6-years old when he attended a summer program held at the University of the West Indies.
“There are incredibly talented kids all over the world eager to level up from game player to game maker and we’re excited to partner with Endless and XPRIZE to help empower and celebrate these inspired young creators,” said Alan Gershenfeld, President of E-Line Media.
XPRIZE chose the 16 winners from seven countries, dividing the winning games by which best acknowledged the exploration, environment and human equity areas.