Keyhole Games

Nonprofit game studio dedicated to educating high school youth in game design to create video games that address societal issues.

Photo of Mike Shumate
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Written by

Additional categories (optional)

  • Education
  • Technology

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

November 9th, 2000

Help us stay in touch!

(302) 513-1241 - Mike Shumate Cellphone - Michael Shumate email

Website or social media url(s) (optional): - Website for Keyhole Games upcoming project The Outcasts: Guardian Angel @Keyhole_Games - Instagram

Date You Started Your Project Started

June 1st, 2015

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

In Delaware there is a lack of opportunities for youth interested in game design to learn how to actually achieve this, let alone learn how to make one. Employers of game design studios often look for people to higher with experience behind their belt. With no place to learn how to create games, no place to hire them, and no experience this career path youth would be extremely difficult to pursue.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The solution Keyhole Games is addressing is giving youth who are interested in game design a studio where they can not only gain experience in the field of game design, but actually create a game and be paid for it. We hope that the students in this program leave with knowledge and experience to move on to other careers in game design with references and a product to show off to employers.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

Keyhole Games began in my freshman year of high school. I knew going in I wanted to make games that addressed social needs, which for my first project I wanted to be mental health awareness. Mental health has always been something that effected me. Not only do I struggle with mental health challenges, but they're lingering issues that run in my family. I dedicated my high school years to this project I titled The Outcasts: Guardian Angel. I began taking entrepreneurship courses learning how to market, pitch, and present. I learned about social ventures, and joined organizations to better myself and my knowledge. I am now a Mental Health Advocate for Delaware CORE, something I owe all to my dedication to this project. Keyhole Games however, recently pivoted from just an independent game company to an educational technology game company dedicated to educating youth in game design.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When teens join Keyhole Games, they are trained by an experienced educator in different fields of game design, where they will work together to create a game to address a social need. These teens will be trained for experience, and paid for their work. The goal at the end is for them to have completed a finished project, along with experience working in game design to show to possible employers in the future. For example, Keyhole Games upcoming project The Outcasts: Guardian Angel addresses the societal need of mental health stigma awareness, amongst other societal needs.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Programs out there do not offer to teens the ability to learn and get paid for their work, with the outcome at the end for them to have experience in game design as well as a finished product. Keyhole Games incubates these high school youth through education and technology to offer more opportunities in their careers and life goals.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Keyhole Games have sent me down an amazing path so far, making my life all the better. I've gotten involved and found motivation in what I'm doing, while discovering my passion is to help others in society. I have become a mental health advocate, peer mentor, and done a lot of good... I only plan on doing a lot more.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I want to discover partnerships between other organizations to fund this project. I am aiming more towards organizations that are looking to improve societal issues as well, as a bit of a means to make games surrounding that field. I'd love to have the games we create be free, or the games sold go back towards our funders or charities to help as many people as possible. We want a place to call home. By that, I mean a studio where we can work. We also need educators to help teach game design to the youth.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Program Design

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Zack Jones of Dual School


Join the conversation:

Photo of Amy Wu

This is awesome and so necessary. We're a team of game designers building an RPG 2D platformer featuring an autistic protagonist about social-emotional challenges so I believe we have similar goals and visions for the power of games and play -- feel free to reach out if we could be of help in any way or if you want to get connected to more folks in the games industry!

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