The 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge features the following categories for individuals and teams:
- Middle School Category – open to students from any U.S. school in grades five through eight.
- High School Category – open to students in grades nine through 12 from any U.S. school.
- Collegiate Category – open to undergraduate and graduate students to design original games for children in pre-K through grade 8 that teach STEM concepts and/or foster an interest in STEM subject areas.
- Educator Category – open to licensed professional educators at the pre-K-12 level, and individuals who are currently teaching or engaging children through a youth serving, nonprofit organization . Educators are invited to design games for youth (grades pre-K through 12) that teach key STEM concepts and/or foster an interest in STEM subject areas.