rebelling against low expectations

Matthew Mistele, Age 14: Developed Game for Xbox 360


(Redmond Reporter) — It’s not uncommon for teens to list video games as one of their favorite hobbies.

Creating a video game is a different story. But this is exactly what 14-year-old Redmond resident Matthew Mistele did. The ninth-grader from The Bear Creek School spent the past year or so working on creating a video game, which was released on Jan. 22 and is now available on Xbox 360.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Matthew said about completing his game and seeing it on Xbox.

His game, Warthog Wars, features various modes for players and assigns them various objectives to complete. He said the game was inspired by the popular video game Halo.

“I really like Halo,” he said.



While Matthew has created simple video games in the past, Warthog Wars is by far the most complex one he has created.

“It’s really ambitious,” he acknowledges.

Matthew’s mother Priscilla Mistele knew his goal to create a game for Xbox 360 would be difficult, so she expected it to just be a good learning experience.

“Basically, we humored him,” she admitted. “I thought it was impossible.”

Mistele said on the first try, Matthew’s game actually failed and fell apart. She said he did not have enough technical knowledge to work out all the bugs.

“He realized how much he didn’t know,” she said. Matthew then took a break from working on the game and hit the books. “(But) it was still super hard for him.”

Mistele said she was impressed by her son’s hard work and determination and the fact that he took the time to study — outside of his regular schoolwork — to complete Warthog Wars.

Matthew mostly worked on the game on the weekends, giving up hours and hours of free time. But when asked whether it was worth it, he had just two words.

“Yes. Totally.”

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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    • Hey Liam, I don’t know if you clicked-through and read the rest of the article on the Redmond-Reporter website, but I liked the last thing Matthew said:

      “If I’m this good now, I can be really good later.”

      One of the reasons it is so cool for young people to start early on projects like your stop-motion film, is because the skills we develop build on each other. The earlier we start, the further along we’ll be ten years from now and twenty years from now.

      Matthew’s game is nowhere near as good as Halo, but in twenty years, when he’s 34, he could be one of the best game developers in the country because he has a 5-10 year head start over other developers.

      • Yes! I am hoping this to be a kick start for me to make live film when I get a bit older. Hopefully this will help me will film in general, with my social skills, and my relationship with the Lord.

        Thanks Brett!

        God Bless,


  • Very cool article I know that programming a video game and then making it good enough to put it on the market must be very difficult. Good job Matthew!!!

  • It’s a good article, though I was expecting a bit of a Christian perspective on video games in general. This is only about a young man who invented a video game, saying at the end, ¨Never give up¨. Sounds pretty man-exalting to me. Not that I refuse to acknowledge his success. He did a great job, I bet. But how does this article in particular help us in our daily walk with the Lord?
    Also, I’ve been wanting to hear a sound, theological stand on the nature of video games in the life of the Christian. I’m not against them at all. But I’ve read theological viewpoints on movies, music, paintings, and so forth… nothing on video games. If somebody has any idea of where I can find such information, I’d like to know.


    • Hey Seth, this article was written by a (most likely) secular reporter for a newspaper in Washington State. It is part of our “Teens In The News” section, where we collect positive news stories about teens doing hard things and rebelling against low expectations.

      If you are interested in an article on video games written from a Christian point-of-view, you may enjoy this post by Arron Cook:

      • Thank you for the article. I will most certainly read it.
        I did guess the news came from a secular reporter (most likely, as you stated). It’s only that it would have been more edifying (in my opinion) to include a brief, theological stand on the topic or something of the like. Not to blast the teenager in the article but to guide our minds and hearts into something truly edifying, not just ¨Never Give Up¨ stuff. At least that’s what I try to do in my movie blog. But I guess I can understand your point, that this section is devoted to news articles concerning teens in general.

        Blessings and thanks again.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →