Let Them Loose

Gaming in education has long been a passion of mine. I presented this at the EdTechSA conference in July 2013, and since then have thoroughly enjoyed teaching the fundamentals of this to my year 6/7 students. There have been many occasions where I thought to myself why don’t I just let them play the games? I knew there would be light at the end of this tunnel. We have spent the last 10 weeks looking at the elements of a game, analyzing games for educational value and the tools available to make games.

I linked the elements of a game to a narrative story using “Wreck It Ralph” the movie to tell a story within a game. I asked students to plan their ideal game. To think about their favourite games and pick out the best bits and remix them together to create their game story.

Here are some outlines of just a few of the games. You will agree the ideas are fantastic and as we continue the development I will share the final products.

Idea 1 by Mitchell:

Speedy joe is trying to reach the generator that frees only the town from pixelation. The disaster of the game is that if you lose the game major mayhem takes over the world. The only resolution to the game is if speedy joe reaches the generator and saves everyone in the town. Sworn enemies major mayhem and sneaky steve form a relationship and become ultimate allies of evil. The final twist is when you complete the game speedy joe meets a guardian that grants him ever lasting power.

Idea 2 by Madison:

This game is about a hero who gets cursed by an evil wizard.You must go through all the levels and collect the golden Crystal at the end of each level. There is 5 level with 4 chapters, once you have completed the levels and obtained all the crystals you power-

Screen Capture of Sploder game Maker platforms

Screen Capture of Sploder game Maker platforms

up and the curse will be dropped.However at the last level you must defeat the wizard,there will also be different bad guys to fight on the way.

Idea 3 by Josh and Maureen

It is just a normal day and the henchmen come and randomly start attacking the kingdom and people in the village. Tulio has to get out of the kingdom and  try to find the dragon who started all of this with his partner Kevin. On his journey he bumps into the king who pretends to be good but is an evil Cat King from Outer Space name Monty. Monty joins forces with Melvin who is the dragon and Tulio including Kevin must stop them before it’s too late. So the player will have to try to succeed levels to stop Melvin the dragon and Monty the evil cat king.

Idea 4 by Jessica:

What happens is that you have to build a massive hotel and celebrities come to live in your hotel but you have to answer the fact right for them to stay in your hotel.If you get the facts wrong you will get another change in 5 hours time. Once you finish a level you will get 2000 coins to build a new floor. The next level comes when all the celebrities are in your hotel also before you level up you must do a quiz on the celebs fact.When you level up you will move on to a different category like animals.

Idea 5 by Tegan and Kate:

A boy/girl is kidnapped and put onto a large ship. The boy/girl is then pushed rather roughly onto a beach. A guy/girl is stuck in on mystery island and is trying to find food to survive BUT she or he comes across angry monsters and robots. She or he needs to find their way back home before these angry villains steal her food. She/he will need to fight the angry villains to survive.

NB. I have requested permission to share these ideas from the students.

Another game from Sploder game maker

Another game from Sploder game maker

As you can see the ideas really did run wild when I set them loose to explore and imaging. Now to the development stage…I am not from any coding or computer science background so it was necessary for me to develop some skills on this. I spent some time playing in Scratch, which I found quite easy to control and thought the students would pick it up easily. When we had some practice using this tool, I was unfortunately mistaken and the students found it quite hard  to ‘program’. So I was challenged to find another tool that would give instant results with little programming.

I put the question out to my professional network an were supported with a number of links including ‘Gamestar Mechanic‘ and ‘Sploder‘. These both fulfilled the request. I had already had Minecraft installed on out computers as this is a huge draw-card for many of these students. Now is th time to see how their creativity and ingenuity can create these games.

Minecraft

Minecraft

I look forward to sharing these and more completed games.

Please support my students in their game making by writing comments of encouragement and feedback  that I can pass on to them.

Rachael

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