Monday 12 November 2018

Project 59: Designing a computer game

It was Solomon's birthday this week and (unsurprisingly!) he wanted to pick something to do with computer games. We have previously done quite a few computer and computer game projects:

So this week we tried to get them to think more about the design of computer games, potential input devices and designing their own pixelated characters.

We started the week by watching some more videos on the history of computer games, and the film Pixels, where the world is invaded by 1980s video games (currently available on Netflix). The TED-Ed video was particularly good, but unfortunately it's only part 1, and five years later we're still waiting for part 2 to appear!

We went to Namco Funscape on the South Bank in London for our trip out. It's the closest you can get to an old fashioned arcade these days, albeit with a greater emphasis on the variety of input devices (e.g., guns, dance mats, and snowboards) and winning tickets. Solomon has already declared that he wants to go again for his next birthday as he loves it, and wants to win lots more of the Pac-Man merchandise!
Namco Funscape
At home we explored the different sorts of input devices that you could create with a Makey-Makey, and built the Nintendo Labo fishing rod. The Makey-Makey is a circuit board that you can plug into your PC and create new input devices by making simple circuits. Nintendo Labo allows you to build new input devices for the Nintendo Switch by combining the controllers with cardboard.
Playing Tetris with the Makey-Makey

Playing with the Nintendo Labo fishing rod
Finally the kids designed their own computer characters: Croc-a-roo and Sissy the Robot.
Croc-a-roo and Sissy the Robot
Solomon's Croc-a-roo is designed with traditional gameplay in mind "it snaps and jumps at baddies in a moving platform game". Monica's character is more genre-busting: "Sissy the Robot walks about waving her arms at people and then goes to live with Peach*".

*from the Mario franchise - intellectual property rights mean nothing to children!

Next week's project: Transport

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