gaming

We were fortunate to have some visitors to the Game Design Camp from the local gaming industry. We thought that bringing in people who do gaming for a living might be a positive experience for the young gamers, and it was. Visitors from Hitpoint Studios not only talked about the design of a game from inception to publishing, but they focused in on the academic skills that one would need to be...
  Bryant Paul Johnson is an amazing artist, webcomic creator and graphic novelist, and he has also done work in the video game industry. He came in to our camp to talk to our young gamers about the process of game design, although the conversation at one point turned to “modding” games, the role of the player in the modern age of gaming, and the use of cheat codes. It was pretty fascinating to...
Tina and I were constantly talking about "story frames" as a way to keep our young gamers focused on making a video game that had some cohesion and reason to it, and not just a random bit of jumping, shooting and dying. You had to die for a reason! One way we encouraged this is through the development of a storyboard for their final, multi-level video game project. They had to at least...
This video collage captures some of the work and play that we did during the week, from the creation of no-tech games to playing old style video games to listening to visitors to storyboarding to publishing original video games on Gamestar Mechanic. Over the course of just a few days, our gamers published more than 50 games and had almost 100 games in a rough draft development stage. We set up...
Tina Browne and I looked out at the room of young gamers who signed up for the first-ever Introductory Game Design Summer Camp as a partnership between the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and a local vocational high school. All boys. Fourteen of them, eager to get going. There was a certain excitement in the air on that first day, and what I noticed immediately is how the boys were trying...
The Game Design Camp ran for four days, four hours a day. We tried to design activities to engage them in a variety of ways, with both offline gaming and online gaming. They were players and developers. Here is a brief overview of how we structured our activities for these young gamers: Day One  Opening Discussion: Our favorite games: What makes them work? Design a collaborative "Spare Parts"...
Although there are more and more sites that give users the tools to create video games, I decided that Gamestar Mechanic was a good choice for a summer camp. It is a closed community and it is built on the concept of users learn how to build video games by first playing games, and gaining experience through activities. I didn't want to just talk about how to make games; I wanted to have that...
One morning, I woke with an idea for a multi-level game about dreaming, and trying to escape a dream, and began to storyboard it out. Then, I went into Gamestar Mechanic and began tinkering with the concept which i eventually called "Deep Down Dream." I was surprised by how much tinkering I had to do to find a balance between making a game playable yet challenging. The narrative structure of a...
The goal of bringing gaming into a learning environment is not just to play games. it is to push our students' thinking in new directions. While Gamestar Mechanic was the main site for our summer camp program, I also wanted our young gamers to have some understanding of the architectural of video games -- peeling back the layer of the screen to see what's under the hood, so to speak. Scratch, a...
Tina Browne and I looked out at the room of young gamers who had signed up for our Game Design Camp. All boys. Fourteen of them, eager to get going. There was a certain excitement in the air on that first day, and what I noticed is how the boys were trying to get a sense of me, in particular, as a gamer. I dodged and weaved, and presented a suitable enough air of authority (constructed on some...

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